The Registrar maintains and updates academic records, oversees matters such as transfer credit evaluation, registration, grade entry, major and concentration declaration, and degree audit. Transcripts, enrollment certification, and permission to transfer credits to Grinnell should be requested from the Registrar. Petitions to the Committee on Academic Standing for exceptions to academic regulations should be made through the Registrar.
Requirements for Graduation
To be eligible for graduation, a student must have at least 124 credits, a 2.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA), and must have satisfactorily completed the tutorial and a departmental, interdepartmental or independent major and the College residency requirement.
The following criteria apply:
The maximum credits that can be included in the 124 credits are listed below:
- 48 credits in any one department (For the purposes of this requirement, Chinese and Japanese credits are to be considered as belonging to separate departments.)
- 92 credits in any one division
- 8 practica credits with no more than 4 credits in Physical Education (PHE 100 or PHE 101)
Practica credits include: MUS 101, PHE 100, PHE 101, THD 100, THD 101, THD 200, THD 201, THD 203
- 16 credits in performance
Performance credits include: MUS 120, MUS 122, MUS 220, MUS 221, MUS 320, MUS 420, THD 102, THD 202
- 6 credits in Music 101, 120, 122, 220, 221, 320, and 420 in any one semester
- 12 credits of individual study work (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499) in one department
- 5 credits of internship study (300)
- 16 credits of “D” grades
No credit with a grade below “C” may count toward the satisfaction of any requirement for a major or an interdisciplinary concentration. (This includes all extra-departmental and cognate courses.)
All entering first-year students are required to take the tutorial. The previous work of transfer students is evaluated for possible exemption from the tutorial requirement; third-year transfers are automatically exempted. Students select a tutorial from the list of those to be offered each year (see Tutorials).
The tutorial is graded on an “A” through “F” basis with no S/D/F grading option. A student must complete the tutorial with a grade of “C” or higher to meet the tutorial graduation requirement and to be eligible to enroll in individual study work (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499) and internships (300). Any student earning a grade of “D” or “F” in the tutorial will be reviewed by the Committee on Academic Standing and will minimally receive an academic warning. Additionally, a student earning a grade of “D” or “F” in the tutorial will be required to complete an appropriate course determined by the Dean of the College and the Dean of Student Success and Academic Advising in order to fulfill the tutorial requirement. This course must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher during his/her/hir next semester at Grinnell. The designated replacement course for the tutorial also has no S/D/F grading option. After successful completion of the tutorial replacement course, the student will be eligible for individual study work and internships.
All entering first-year students are required to complete the First-Year Experience (FYE) Course. Students select an FYE Course section from those offered in their first year, typically in the spring
semester. Most students will take the course in their second semester on campus. In rare circumstances, students who are unable to complete the FYE Course in their second semester on campus (e.g., due to an Emergency/Medical Leave) must complete the course in the immediate next year in which they are on campus and the FYE Course is offered, even though they may no longer be first-year students. Transfer students are exempted from the FYE Course completion requirement.
The First-Year Experience Course is graded on an S/D/F basis. Completion of the course is necessary to meet the FYE Course completion requirement. Grades of “D” or “F” will satisfy the completion requirement; however, this will likely prompt the Committee on Academic Standing to issue an academic warning, at minimum. The FYE Course may not be repeated, making grades of “D” or “F” final. Per the S/D/F grading policy, grades of “D” or “F” are calculated into the term and cumulative grade point averages.
College Residence Requirement
Because a residential college seeks to create an environment in which students and faculty benefit from the exchange of insights, ideas, and experiences, a residence requirement provides adequate time for such an exchange for the student’s development both inside and outside the classroom. Contemplative study, maturation, and time for reading and discussion in the College community all are considered important to a student’s development.
All students are expected to complete eight college semesters at the minimum semester course load, a specified number of which must be in residence at Grinnell. (More than the minimum semester course load is required to maintain normal scholarly progress. See the Academic Review section of this Handbook.) Students who enter Grinnell as first-semester first-year students or who transfer to Grinnell as second-semester first-year students are required to complete at least six semesters at the minimum semester course load in residence at Grinnell. (See the table below.) One semester of approved off-campus study may count toward the six- semester residency requirement.
Transfer students who enter as first-semester second year students, as second-semester second-year students, or as third-year students must complete at least four semesters at the minimum semester course load in residence at Grinnell. The only off-campus programs that can be counted toward residency for second-year and third-year transfer students are those operated by Grinnell College: the Grinnell-in-London and Grinnell-in-Washington programs. (See the table below.)
|# of Semesters to Complete at Grinnell
||Number of Off-Campus Study Semesters Permitted
||Must be GIL or off campus study
||1 OCS and 1 GIL
||2 OCS or 1 OCS and 1 GIL
||2 OCS or 1 OCS and 1 GIL
||2 OCS or 1 OCS and 1 GIL
|OCS = Off campus study, GIL are Grinnell sponsored OCS
If an eighth-semester student in good academic standing leaves the College with eight or fewer non-major credits to complete toward the degree, these credits may be completed at another accredited college or university, as long as the college residence requirement has been met and prior approval has been granted by the student’s adviser and the Registrar. Degrees are not conferred beyond three years after the date a student leaves Grinnell.
Requirements for Accelerated/Early Graduation
Students who enter Grinnell as first-semester first-year students may develop degree programs of six or seven semesters at the minimum semester course load. The major adviser and the Committee on Academic Standing must approve the student’s plan for accelerated graduation. The Application for Accelerated Graduation may be obtained from the Registrar’s GrinnellShare page. In completing the application, students should consult the “Elements of a Liberal Education” section of the Grinnell College Academic Catalog. A completed application must be submitted no later than Friday of the first full week of classes of the semester proposed for graduation. However, it is in a student’s interest to apply for accelerated graduation no later than the time of registration two semesters prior to the expected date of accelerated graduation so that the student has two semesters in which to address any academic deficiencies identified by the Committee on Academic Standing. Students may graduate after six or seven semesters if they have satisfied requirements for the degree, including the requirements for major, residence, and total credits, and if they have demonstrated a commitment to a strong program of liberal education, normally including three four-credit courses in each of the three major divisions of the College. The last full semester of work before graduation must be completed at Grinnell, except for students participating in Cooperative Programs leading to second degrees.
The class standing of a student who is attempting to follow an approved accelerated program to graduate in fewer than eight semesters is not reclassified forward on the basis of credits earned until their final semester. The credits necessary to remain in good academic standing are determined by a student’s actual class status, not by the accelerated program he or she is attempting.
Requirements for Extended Graduation/Additional Semester
All students are expected to complete their academic programs within eight semesters at the minimum semester course load. Some students may be permitted to take more time. Examples would include students with disabilities that prevent them from carrying a full course load or students who have fallen behind normal scholarly progress. In all cases of extended study, the student must secure prior approval from the Committee on Academic Standing. The Petition for an Additional Semester may be obtained from the Registrar’s GrinnellShare page. The Committee on Academic Standing will review such requests in consultation with appropriate administrative offices.
The College reserves the right to refuse college housing to students beyond eight semesters, and the College will not provide its own aid funds to students who exceed eight semesters of college residence.
During the 2020-21 academic year, due to the pandemic, many students took a part-time course load or took a leave of absence for one or more terms. If a student took a part-time course load any of the terms or took a leave of absence one term of either semester during that year, they will be allowed to return for a ninth semester without going through the application process. They will need to contact the Registrar’s Office and the Financial Aid office to request their graduation date be changed for this reason.
Graduation with Honors
Each department recommends for graduation with honors those senior majors who have clearly distinguished themselves within their major field of study. In order to qualify for recommendation, a student must, after the semester prior to graduation (typically after the seventh semester, except in the case of accelerated graduation), have achieved at least a 3.50 grade point average in the major field and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.40. Students found responsible for academic dishonesty are not eligible for honors, except students who receive a less-than-typical outcome for the offense. The required seven semesters of study to qualify for honors need not all be completed at Grinnell; however, only credits completed at Grinnell, Grinnell-in-London, and Grinnell-in-Washington, D.C. and will be used in determining grade point eligibility.
These are minimum, College-wide criteria for honors. Students should consult the individual department listings in the Grinnell College Academic Catalog for departmental minimum criteria for honors and may consult with the chair of the major department for further clarification, if needed. Honors are awarded for graduation based on the requirements published in the Academic Catalog at the time of graduation, not at the time in which the student declares their major.
Students may participate in only one Commencement program. Students who plan to graduate in December are typically included in the Commencement program the following May. Some December graduates, however, may wish to participate in the Commencement program immediately preceding their final semester. Students who have remained in good academic standing the previous two semesters, and who can reasonably complete all requirements by the end of the following December may be allowed to participate in Commencement with approval from the Registrar. These students will not receive a diploma until after their degree has been conferred.
Class Registration Policies
This section contains information about registering for and withdrawing from classes. For more information on registration, contact the Office of the Registrar.
Student Responsibilities and Deadlines
Faculty advisers assist students in understanding college regulations, but the responsibility rests with the individual student to make certain that all procedures and deadlines are followed properly. All students receive detailed instructions before confirmation of registration and preregistration dates.
Currently enrolled students may preregister for the succeeding semester online via the College’s secure registration portal. Students approved to return from leaves or suspension may preregister for the succeeding semester if all outstanding student account balances, including past due loan balances, are satisfied. Tuition, fees, and room and board are typically billed two months prior to confirmation of registration.
The “Arrival Confirmation” process takes place at the start of each semester (See the current semester calendar for these dates). A late fee is charged to students who do not confirm by 12:00 pm (noon) on the fourth day of classes. Students must contact the Office of the Registrar if they are unable to confirm their arrival by that time. Students must arrive on campus and complete the arrival confirmation and register for courses no later than 5:00 p.m. on the fifth day of classes. Students who arrive after this deadline are automatically removed from all their courses for that semester and are withdrawn from the college. Likewise, students who have not registered for classes by this deadline are withdrawn from the College. In both instances, students cannot seek readmission for one year.
The administration reserves the right of final determination of an individual student’s course registration when institutional interests are involved: for example, when class size is limited for educational reasons or when courses must be balanced to better accommodate more students.
The minimum course load for degree-seeking students is 12 credits per semester. However, normal scholarly progress for students expecting to graduate from Grinnell in eight semesters requires a course load of 16 credits per semester.
Approval from the Office of the Registrar is required to carry a semester course load of more than 18 credits. Students registered for more than 18 credits per term are billed the per credit rate for the credits in excess of 18. Musical group performance, studio instruction in music, physical education activities, varsity sports, and FYE: Connections (MUS 101, MUS 120, MUS 122, MUS 220, MUS 221, MUS 320, MUS 420, PHE 100, PHE 101, and FYE-100) are not counted when determining credits in excess of 18.
Approval from the Office of the Registrar is required for degree-seeking students to carry a semester course load of less than the 12 credit minimum. In addition, the student should consult with the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising to gain an understanding of the impacts of carrying less than the minimum course load in any given semester. Grinnell expects degree-seeking students to maintain a minimum of 8 credits, unless they are enrolled in a ninth semester.
The College strives to provide equal access for students with disabilities. Students seeking to carry a course load of fewer than 12 credits per semester as the result of a documented disability or medical condition should contact the Coordinator of Disability Resources to inquire about the accommodation process.
Regardless of individual semester course load, full tuition will be charged for the first eight semesters. Institutional financial aid is calculated based on minimum course load. Students enrolling for fewer than 12 credits in a semester will have federal and state financial aid adjusted according to the relevant federal and state regulations. Students are typically only eligible for eight semesters of institutional aid from Grinnell, regardless of individual semester course load.
Registration for a Short Course
The deadline to add or drop a short course (that is, courses of less than six weeks in length) is 5:00 p.m. on the second class day of the course. Likewise, S/D/F and audit options for a short course must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second day of the course. Withdrawal from a short course with a grade of “W” is not permitted after the add/drop deadline, except in cases of an Emergency Course Withdrawal as detailed in this Handbook.
Registration for a Half-Semester Course
The deadline to add or drop a half-semester course (that is, courses of six to eight weeks in duration) is 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday of the course. Likewise, S/D/F and audit options for a half-semester course must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday of the course. The deadlines to withdraw from a half-semester course with a grade of “W” is 5:00 p.m. on the Friday of the fourth full week of the course. After this deadline, withdrawals are subject to the Emergency Course Withdrawal policy, as detailed in this Handbook.
Registration for a Course as Audit
Registration is required to audit a course at Grinnell College. Current degree-seeking Grinnell College students, alumni, faculty (including SFS, Emeriti, and Language Assistants), staff, spouses and domestic partners of faculty or staff, and community members that are 65-years-of-age and older are eligible to audit courses at Grinnell College. All others may audit only music performance ensembles (MUS-101).
There is no tuition charge to audit courses at Grinnell College, however, additional fees for materials may be assessed. The ability to audit a course is available only at the instructor’s discretion and on a space available basis and may be revoked at any time. The audit option is not available for every course, nor for individual study work in any form (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499), including group independents and internships (300).
Individual faculty members determine their own course requirements for auditors. Consult with the instructor about course requirements and expectations for participation prior to registration.
To register for a course as an audit, the auditor must complete an Audit Registration Form for either current degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking students; obtain permission from their faculty adviser (if a current degree-seeking student) and the instructor of the course; and return the completed form to the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines detailed below. Except in the case of short courses or half-semester courses (see above), a course may only be added or changed from credit to audit, during the two-week add/drop period at the start of the semester (See the current semester calendar for these dates).
A grade of “AU” is recorded on the Grinnell College transcript for each audit satisfactorily completed. Unsatisfactory audits are not recorded on a student’s transcript. Audited courses carry no academic credit, do not calculate into the term or cumulative grade point average, and do not count toward major or concentration requirements nor the degree.
Registration for a Course as S/D/F
“S/D/F” is similar to taking a course pass/fail at other institutions but is unique in the following way. At Grinnell, if a grade of “C” or better is earned, the grade awarded is “S” (satisfactory). A grade of “S” is not included in a student’s semester or cumulative GPA. In the event an “S” is not earned, the grade is either a “D” (passing) or an “F” (failing). Grades of “D” or “F” are included in a student’s semester and cumulative GPA. A grade of “D” is included at 1.0 grade points per credit. A grade of “F” is included at 0.0 grade points per credit.
Students contemplating the “S/D/F” grading option should discuss this with their adviser. To register for a course with “S/D/F” grade mode, a student must submit a completed Course Change Form signed by their adviser to the Office of the Registrar by the withdraw deadline. The following limits apply to S/D/F grading:
- A student may elect the “S/D/F” grading option any time before the deadline for withdrawal from a course.
- A grading change to or from the “S/D/F” option is not permitted under any circumstances after the above stated deadlines.
- A student may elect no more than 6 credits of “S/D/F” grading per semester. This credit limit does not include 1-credit courses such as practica and all 1- or 2-credit courses offered only “S/D/F.”
- Any course graded on the “S/D/F” basis does not count toward the minimum credit requirement for the major or interdisciplinary concentration, nor does it fulfill any specific major or concentration course requirement.
- The tutorial, or a writing course used as a replacement for a tutorial, may not be taken “S/D/F.”
- The “S/D/F” option is not available for independent study in any form (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499) or internships (GDS-300 or SOC-300).
- A student may not elect the “S/D/F” grading option for a main course when registered for the companion “Plus-2.”
- A student may not elect the “S/D/F” grading option when repeating a course.
- A student who is contemplating graduate or professional study should note the following: if a course is taken “S/D/F”, the Office of the Registrar does not record a letter grade other than “S,” “D,” or “F”. Changes from “S” to a letter grade will not be made on the transcript or on any official form under any circumstances.
- A course elected for grading on the “S/D/F” basis does not satisfy any part of the professional courses in education required for certification in Iowa and certain other states.
- A student on Academic Probation or Strict Academic Probation may not elect to take any course “S/D/F”.
Repeating a Course
A few courses may be taken more than once for credit. Those courses can be identified in the Grinnell College Academic Catalog: It states “may be repeated for credit” within the descriptive text for these courses.
A student may repeat any course in which they have earned a grade of “D” or “F”. For any repeated course, only the grade and credits earned the second time are counted toward graduation or in the student’s grade-point average, but the first attempt remains on the student’s transcript. A student must have approval from the Committee on Academic Standing to repeat a course for which a student has earned a grade of “C” or better. Approval to repeat is typically not granted for courses in such cases.
Any course from another institution that repeats the content of a Grinnell course in which a student initially received a “D” or “F” grade will not be granted transfer credit.
Within the first two full class weeks of semester (the Add/Drop period), a student may drop a course without transcript entry (See the current semester calendar for these dates).
From Monday of the third full week of classes through 5:00p.m. on Friday of the ninth week of the semester, a student may withdraw from a course with a grade of “W.” The grade of “W” indicates that a student withdrew from a course without credit or academic penalty, and the “W” grade is not calculated into the term or cumulative grade point average. After the ninth week of a semester, students may not withdraw from a course (except in the case of an Emergency Course Withdrawal and will receive the grade assigned by the instructor. That grade is calculated into the student’s term and cumulative grade point averages.
A failing grade may be assigned to any student who stops attending a course and fails to file a Course Change Form with the Office of the Registrar, therefore remaining registered for the course.
Students should consult their adviser(s) or the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising before dropping or withdrawing from courses, since students are expected to 1) earn 16 credits per semester to maintain normal scholarly progress toward graduation, 2) must seek approval from the Registrar to carry a term course load of less than 12 credits, and 3) are typically not allowed to drop below a term credit load of 8 credits. If dropping a course results in a load of less than 12 credits, the student may be placed on academic probation for the next semester.
Students considering withdrawal from all their courses or from the College during a semester should see the sections of this Student Handbook titled “Leaves or Withdrawal from the College”.
Emergency Course Withdrawal
Emergency course withdrawals may be granted in exceptional and extreme circumstances that are both beyond the student’s control and impossible to foresee. These circumstances must demonstrably and significantly impact the student’s ability (1) to meet the requirements of a specific course and/or (2) to maintain their current course load. This withdrawal option is not intended as a mechanism for manipulating or enhancing a student’s grade point average. Thus, ethically and practically the decision to withdraw should be made at the time the problem occurs, not retroactively. Approval from the Registrar is required to carry a semester credit load below 12 credits, and students are typically not allowed to drop below a term credit load of 8 credits.
Students seeking an emergency course withdrawal should complete a form available from the Office of the Registrar GrinnellShare page, attach appropriate, substantiating documentation, and meet with the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising to discuss the situation. No student may withdraw from a course after 5:00 p.m. of the last day of classes or after 5:00 p.m. of the last day of the class itself (if a short course). Students granted approval for emergency course withdrawals beginning the Monday of the third full week of classes will receive the transcript notation of “W”.
In the event that a student believes an error has been made during this process, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. (An appeal based on concerns about disability or other types of discrimination may also be made according to the college’s nondiscrimination policy.) Appeals must be made within 7 calendar days from the date of the decision; if an appeal is not submitted within 7 calendar days, the original decision of the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising is final. Appeals should specifically cite incorrect facts or unfair application of procedures and provide information to support these statements. Any medical information submitted as part of the appeal must include signed releases for the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College and for the college clinician assigned to review medical information to discuss pertinent information with the student’s health care provider. After receiving the appeal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, or designee, will review all relevant facts and information and respond in writing to the student within 10 business days.
Instructor-Initiated Course Drop or Withdrawal
The Committee on Academic Standing, on the recommendation of the instructor, may drop or withdraw a student from a course for behavior that is disruptive to the learning of other students, including excessive absences. If this action is taken during the two week Add/Drop period at the start of the semester, the student will be dropped from the course. Once the Add/Drop period has ended, until the ninth week of class, the student will be withdrawn from the course and a grade of “W” is recorded. After this period, the grade assigned by the instructor is recorded, although in cases of illness or other emergency situations, the Committee on Academic Standing may approve a transcript entry of “W” upon recommendation by the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising.
Honesty in Academic Work
When you study at the College, you join a conversation among scholars, professors, and students, one that helps sustain both the intellectual community here and the larger world of thinkers, researchers, and writers. The tests you take, the research you do, the writing you submit—all these are ways you participate in this conversation.
The College presumes that your work for any course is your own contribution to that scholarly conversation, and it expects you to take responsibility for that contribution. That is, you should strive to present ideas and data fairly and accurately, indicate what is your own work, and acknowledge what you have derived from other sources. This care permits other members of the community to trace the evolution of ideas and check claims for accuracy.
Failure to live up to this expectation constitutes academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is misrepresenting another’s intellectual effort - whether derived from a machine generated source or a person - as your own. Within the context of a course, it also can include misrepresenting your own work as produced for that class when in fact it was produced for some other purpose.
Behavior that violates the policy can include but is not limited to:
- Cheating on tests;
- Using without adequate citation material found on the Internet, including words, pictures, graphs, tables, and other graphics;
- Turning in written or graphic work without citing correctly the sources of ideas, words, data, or images;
- Copying from others on papers, tests, or other work;
- Copying a computer program without acknowledging its sources;
- Presenting work in class, such as in a PowerPoint presentation, without correctly citing the sources of the words, ideas or images;
- Quoting or paraphrasing language from a Large Language Model (LLM) or other AI service without citing this in the coursework you submit or present;
- Quoting a passage that does not exist, or citing a source that does not exist;
- Collaborating with others on projects where that is not allowed and/or collaborating without properly crediting that collaboration in a footnote or endnote;
- Manufacturing or falsifying data in the process of research;
- Submitting one paper to satisfy the requirements of two different courses without getting permission from both instructors;
- Knowingly and deliberately assisting a fellow student to commit academic dishonesty.
- Using translation software or consulting with a speaker with advanced proficiency to do homework or other assignments without permission of the instructor.
Students who are found responsible for violating Grinnell’s academic conduct standards, whether intentionally or through carelessness, will receive academic outcomes. The range of potential outcomes may include, but are not limited to, failure on the assignment, a lower course grade, ineligibility to graduate with honors, failure in a course, probation, suspension, and/or dismissal from the College. The Committee on Academic Standing’s Guidelines for Academic Honesty Outcomes are available upon request from the Office of the Registrar.
Assumptions about Work You Submit
In general, then, you should make the following assumptions about work assigned at the College:
When you submit a piece of work (whether a paper or paper draft, report, examination, homework, computer program, creative project, or other assignment) for a grade, you are claiming that its form and content represent your own original work produced for this assignment, except where you have clearly and specifically cited other sources.
Tests or examinations are closed-book unless the instructor states otherwise.
Any assigned work is to be done independently unless the instructor states otherwise.
If you collaborate on any phase of an assignment, you must indicate what work is your own and what emerged from the collaboration.
Ethical Use of Sources to Avoid Plagiarism
One particular type of academic dishonesty—plagiarism—occurs when a writer uses sources, whether through quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing, without clearly or sufficiently acknowledging the source. Thus, to avoid plagiarizing, you must cite the source of any expressions, ideas, or observations not your own, whether they come from a primary source, a secondary source, an electronic source, a textbook, a class discussion, a lab manual, or any other source of information.
Whenever you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or use an idea from a source, you must acknowledge that source through some system of citation. The exact system varies by discipline; your instructor will tell you whether to use the MLA, the APA, the Chicago style, or some other.
If you are found to have misused sources, you may be found responsible for plagiarism even when you have made no conscious effort to deceive. Therefore, you should cite your sources in a clear and consistent way; if you have any doubts about how to cite sources, ask your instructor.
Generally, in writing papers, you should comply with the following requirements for acknowledging sources:
Quote sparingly and precisely: Brief quotations, included within your own clear analyses or interpretations, are far more effective than long, unanalyzed ones.
Indicate quotations: Place quotation marks around any quotation you use in your text, even those consisting of only a phrase. In the case of long quotations, set them off in a block and follow the rules for indentation. In addition, cite the precise source of the quotation in a footnote, endnote, or in-text citation. You must use quotation marks around the directly-quoted parts and cite the source even if you have rearranged the order of the sentences or have interspersed some of your own words and ideas.
Paraphrase carefully: When you paraphrase—that is, when you put what a source says into your own words—you must not merely rearrange a few words from the source, but must recast the passage or sentence completely. In addition, you must specifically cite the source of any material that you have paraphrased or summarized, even when you have substantially reworded or rearranged it. It is not acceptable to explain similarities between your work and that of others by claiming that you read the source or sources long ago and have confused the phrases and ideas of the other author or authors with your own. Rule of thumb: When in doubt, cite.
Cite ideas and data: You are also obliged to acknowledge, whether in an in-text citation or a footnote, any idea you have borrowed from another person or source. Scholars, researchers, and writers often engage in intense discussions, with each speaker confirming or modifying some aspect of another’s thought. Given these circumstances, it’s often difficult to credit the source for any given idea. However, such acknowledgment is part of how we honor each other’s words and work. Even though, at times, you may feel as if the distinction between your ideas and the ideas of others is unclear, you must make that distinction as clear as possible. This requirement to acknowledge the ideas of others applies whether the source is a faculty member, another student, a guest lecturer, or an off-campus friend or relative, or any other source.
Include a list of collaborators, people consulted, references, works cited, and/or bibliography at the end of your essay, lab report, research paper, or presentation. That is, in addition to using footnotes or parenthetical references to cite sources in the body of your work, you must provide a clearly structured record of all your sources at the end of your project.
Collaboration and Acknowledgment
Your participation in a scholarly conversation often requires that you work with others in learning or creating knowledge. At Grinnell, each instructor establishes rules about such collaboration for their course. Some will insist that all work be done individually (this is the default assumption); others may allow you to work together on part of a project but not the final product; others may encourage – or even require – collaboration throughout the project. If you are in doubt about the extent of collaboration permitted in a specific course, ask your instructor to clarify the rules. To behave ethically, you must follow the rules of each instructor in each class.
When collaboration is permitted on work that is to be submitted individually, follow the instructions in the syllabus or assignment prompt. If there are no instructions, it is good academic practice to acknowledge the assistance you have received. This includes assistance received from another person or from a Large Language Model or AI service. In other words, just as you cite written sources to tell the reader what words or ideas come from that source, you should acknowledge help you received so that the reader understands how your work was shaped by this assistance. For example, assistance might include help brainstorming ideas, editing writing, or gathering data. It is good academic practice to acknowledge this assistance in a footnote or acknowledgments section offering thanks and describing the nature of the assistance. The failure to acknowledge assistance does not always rise to the level of an academic honesty violation but does so when it violates the rules of an assignment set by an instructor.
Your Responsibility as an Ethical Scholar
In sum, as a Grinnell student, you now contribute to a conversation as a member of the global academic community. To do so responsibly, you must acknowledge your debt to others.
Other Ethical Issues
There are other ethical dimensions to being a member of the Grinnell community beyond those of scholarly integrity, and even though failure to uphold these expectations may not constitute an academic honesty violation, they can have other serious consequences. For example, forging a faculty member’s signature on a document given to the Registrar’s Office could be referred to the Dean of Students for a conduct process. Attempting to mislead an instructor, say, by claiming to have forgotten to attach a paper to an email as a way of gaining additional time to work causes you to lose the valuable goodwill of the instructor.
Process for Review of Alleged Violations of the Honesty Policy
In submitting a report, paper, examination, project, homework assignment, or computer program, a student is stating that the form and content of the paper, report, examination, project, homework assignment, or computer code represents their own work, except where clear and specific reference is made to other sources. If an instructor finds evidence that a student’s submitted work may be in violation of the College’s honesty standards, that instructor must bring it to the attention of the Committee on Academic Standing. Students cannot be found responsible for violating the academic honesty policy without a hearing by this Committee’s Subcommittee on Academic Honesty, which includes the opportunity for the student to contribute to facts in the case. Once the instructor submits their report to the Committee, they may not discuss the case with the student. The instructor will continue to teach and engage with the student as they would any other learner in the class.
The Subcommittee on Academic Honesty of the Committee on Academic Standing will inform the student in writing of its receipt of the material in question, including identification of the course involved, the work submitted—exam, paper, report, project, homework assignment, or computer program—and enough information to identify those elements. This notification will set the time and place of a hearing as well as the procedures to be used for the hearing. The hearing is scheduled at a date and time that will ensure a fair and expeditious process.
The student may submit a written statement in addition to or in lieu of appearing in person to respond to the charges. The student is informed of their right to bring another person from the College community as a nonparticipating observer at the hearing. Typically, the observer is the student’s academic adviser, another faculty member, or a member of Academic Advising or Student Affairs staff. If the student requires accommodations to fully participate in the hearing process, they should contact the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources. Regardless of whether the student chooses to attend the hearing, the hearings will proceed – and a determination of responsible or not responsible, along with the appropriate academic outcomes will follow. Hearings will not be rescheduled due to non-attendance. The Subcommittee on Academic Honesty will make a digital audio recording of the hearing. The student may not record the hearing; however, the Subcommittee recording is retained for one year from the date of the hearing as part of the student’s educational record. Under FERPA, students may request to review and inspect the recording by contacting the Office of the Registrar. Copies of the recording will not be provided.
The Chair of the Subcommittee on Academic Honesty will notify the faculty member involved that they may directly inform the student that they are under review for a potential violation of the academic honesty policy and that the relevant material has been delivered to the Committee on Academic Standing for consideration of the case. The subcommittee understands that in some instances the instructor might have already informed the student. Other than providing relevant information to the Subcommittee on Academic Honesty, the instructor has no further function in the process.
The function of the Subcommittee on Academic Honesty is to ascertain the facts, formulate a recommendation on the case, and submit it to the Committee on Academic Standing, which imposes such educational outcomes as appear in the best interest of the student and the College. The student is notified in writing by the chair of the Subcommittee on Academic Honesty about the final decision.
Students who are found responsible for violating the college’s academic honesty policy, whether intentionally or through carelessness, will receive academic outcomes. The range of potential outcomes may include, but are not limited to, failure on the assignment, lower course grade, ineligibility to graduate with honors, failure in a course, probation, suspension, and/or dismissal from the College. The Committee on Academic Standing’s Guidelines for Academic Honesty Outcomes are available upon request from the Office of the Registrar. Once the Committee on Academic Standing receives notice of a potential honesty violation, until the Committee makes a decision, students may not drop or withdraw from the affected course. If the student is found responsible of an honesty violation by the Committee, they may not drop or withdraw from the affected course. If the student is found not responsible by the Committee, they may drop or withdraw from the affected course, provided the course is within the drop or withdraw period for the term.
For a student who goes through the hearing process and is found not responsible for violating the policy, nothing is maintained in their official College record related to the case or the hearing. For a student who is found responsible, a record of the responsibility and the outcome is maintained as part of the student’s official College record in the Office of the Registrar for the remainder of time the student is enrolled at Grinnell and for five years after the last date of the student’s enrollment. For a student who is suspended or dismissed for academic honesty violations, that fact is noted on the student’s transcript. If a suspended student re-enrolls, the transcript notation is removed from that point forward; for a dismissed student the notation remains.
Appealing an Honesty Decision of the Committee on Academic Standing
An appeal of the decision of the Committee on Academic Standing involving academic dishonesty may be made in writing to the President’s Office, which will convene an Appeal Review Committee to consider whether to grant a hearing. The appeal must be delivered to the President’s office within five business days after receipt of the Committee’s decision. The Appeal Review Committee will be composed of one Executive Council member, one former member of CAS, and one additional faculty member, all appointed by the President. This Committee shall grant a hearing for an appeal only on the condition that 1) relevant new evidence is presented or 2) procedural error in the original deliberation has been established.
If a hearing is granted, an Appeals Hearing Board will completely re-hear the academic honesty case. One member of the Executive Council, one former member of CAS and one additional faculty member, all appointed by the President, shall constitute the Appeals Hearing Board. In making appointments the President shall give favorable consideration to previous Committee on Academic Standing and Executive Council experience and shall not draw from the Appeal Review Committee.
The chair of the current CAS Subcommittee for Academic Honesty shall serve as a non-voting consultant to the Appeal Review Committee, present only at such meetings as deemed appropriate to consult with the Appeal Review Committee and provide information concerning the original hearing process and evidence as well as represent the Committee on Academic Standing in considering new evidence or reviewing procedure. The chair of the current CAS Subcommittee for Academic Honesty may not be a consultant to the Appeals Hearing Board.
The decision of the Appeals Hearing Board shall supersede any previous decision.
A student may appeal the decision of the Appeals Hearing Board directly to the President. In the event the Appeal Review Committee decides not to grant a rehearing, the student may appeal the decision of the Committee on Academic Standing directly to the President.
Individual Study, Internships, and Practica
Eligibility for Individual Study
Guided Reading (297) may be undertaken when a student has attained second-semester of first-year standing. Plus-2, Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), and intermediate Directed Research (299) may be undertaken when a student has attained second-year standing. Advanced Directed Research (399) and a Mentored Advanced Project (499) may be undertaken when a student has attained third-year standing.
Students having less than third-year standing who have satisfied the tutorial requirement (or its equivalent) may take one Plus-2, Guided Reading (297), Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), or intermediate Directed Research course (299) per semester. There is no semester limit for third- and fourth-year students.
Plus-2, Guided Reading (297), Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), Directed Research (299 or 399), and Mentored Advanced Projects (499) may not substitute for a course regularly offered by Grinnell College, even though the course is not offered every year.
Although there is no limit to the total number of Individual Study courses (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499) a student may take, students may apply only 12 of these credits in any one department toward satisfaction of graduation requirements.
The audit and S/D/F grading option are not available for individual study courses.
General Application Procedures for Guided Reading, Individual Reading, Independent Study, Directed Research, and Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs)
Applications for Guided Reading (297), Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), Directed Research (299 or 399), and MAPs (499) may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
An application for Guided Reading (297) requires a description of the topic accompanied by a bibliography. After consultation with the potential faculty director, the student submits an application first to their academic adviser for approval and then to the proposed faculty director. The application is then submitted by the student to the Office of the Registrar, who will submit the application for approval from the Dean of the College. If the Dean approves the application, the student will be registered for the Guided Reading course. All Guided Reading applications are subject to the approval of the Dean of the College. Arrangement for a Guided Reading project must be made before the work is done; credit is not given for reading done in the past.
An application for Individual Reading (387) has department-specific requirements. Contact the individual department for a project checklist. After consultation with the potential faculty director, the student submits an application first to their academic adviser for approval, then to the proposed faculty director, and then to the appropriate department chair. The application is then submitted by the student to the Office of the Registrar, who will seek approval from the Dean of the College. If the Dean approves the application, the student will be registered for the Individual Reading course. All Individual Reading applications are subject to the approval of the Dean of the College. Arrangement for an Individual Reading project must be made before the work is done; credit is not given for reading done in the past.
An application for Independent Study (397) or Directed Research (299 or 399) requires a thesis statement or equivalent, a bibliography, and an outline of the project—including an indication of academic preparation for this study. After consultation with the potential faculty director, a student submits an application first to his/her/hir academic adviser for approval and then to the proposed faculty director. The application is then submitted by the student to the Office of the Registrar, who will seek approval from the Dean of the College. If the Dean approves the application, the student will be registered for the Independent Study or Directed Research course. All Independent Study and Directed Research applications are subject to the approval of the Dean of the College.
A Mentored Advanced Project (499) has the most formal and developed application. In consultation with the potential faculty mentor, a student develops a thorough description of the topic and project, a clear statement of the relation of the project to their previous studies, a bibliography or list of sources, list of graded work and deadlines, a budget for any needed materials and/or travel, and an explanation of the planned product of the project. Products of MAPs are expected to contribute to the original scholarship of the field of study and may be disseminated professionally through a scholarly publication, presentation, or prize submission. After securing approval from the faculty mentor, a student submits an application to their academic adviser for approval and then the appropriate department chair. The application is then submitted by the student to the Office of the Registrar, who will seek approval from the Dean of the College. If the Dean approves the application, the student will be registered for the MAP. All MAPs are subject to the approval of the Dean of the College.
Leaves of Absence and Summer MAPs
Students who are on a Leave of Absence (Personal or Emergency/Medical Leave) during the spring semester are eligible for summer MAPs, provided the following conditions are in place:
1. The MAP meets Grinnell’s standards for summer MAPS.
2. The student has filed a Leave of Absence (Personal or Emergency/Medical) return letter and has been granted approval to return for the subsequent semester.
3. The student has preregistered (or will be preregistering) for classes in the fall semester.
4. The student must sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the stipend and appropriate tuition for the credits they earned if they do not enroll for the fall semester.
Registration Deadlines for Individual Study
Plus-2 may be added up to 5:00p.m. on the Friday of the fifth full week of classes. (See the current semester calendar for these dates). To register for a Plus-2, a student must complete a Course Change Form; obtain permission from their faculty adviser and the instructor of the course; and return the completed form to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline detailed above. Credit is not granted for a Plus-2 if a student does not successfully complete the related course.
Registration Deadlines for Guided Reading, Individual Reading, Independent Study, Directed Research, and Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs)
The deadline to submit to the Office of the Registrar a Fall or Spring semester application for Guided Reading (297), Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), Directed Research (299 or 399), or a MAP (499) is 5:00 p.m. on the Monday following the end of preregistration for the next semester. A completed application for a summer individual study (Plus-2 is not available during the summer) is 5:00 p.m. on the Monday following the end of preregistration for the Fall semester. (See the current semester calendar for these dates).
An application for Guided Reading (297), Individual Reading (387), Independent Study (397), Directed Research (299 or 399), or a MAP (499) must be completed with the required materials (see above) and all faculty signatures before submission to the Office of the Registrar. Upon receipt of a completed application, the Office of the Registrar will seek approval from the Dean of the College. If the Dean approves the application, the student will be registered for the individual study course. All applications for individual study work are subject to the approval of the Dean of the College.
Some departments offer practica courses, including:
- Performance in musical groups: MUS 101
- Physical education activities and varsity sports: PHE 100, PHE 101
- Theatrical productions and dance ensemble: THD 100, THD 101, THD 200, THD 201, THD 203
Eligibility for Practica
Eligibility for practica courses varies. Contact the appropriate department or the Office of the Registrar with questions. Practica courses are only offered during the fall and spring semesters.
- A total combined maximum of 8 credits of musical group performance (MUS 101), physical education activities and varsity sports (PHE 100 and 101), and theatrical productions and dance ensemble (THD 100, THD 101, THD 200, THD 201 and 203) may count toward a student’s graduation requirements, with no more than 4 of those credits in physical education activities (PHE 100 and 101).
- A combined semester maximum of 6 credits in musical group performance (MUS 101), studio instruction (MUS 120, 122, 220, and 221), and recitals (MUS 320 and 420.)
Studio instruction in music (MUS 120, 122, 220, and 221) and music recitals (MUS 320 and 420) are letter graded (A-F). The S/D/F grading option is available for these courses, however, the student must submit a Course Change Form electing this option.
All other practica, including performance in musical groups (MUS 101), physical education activities (PHE 100 and 101), and theatrical productions (THD 100, THD 101, THD 200, THD 201, and 203) are graded S/D/F only. The letter grade option (A-F) is not available for these practica.
General Registration Procedures for Practica
In most cases, students register for practica credits like any other course, however, registration processes for THD 100 and PHE 101 vary and the department will register the student after they earn the credit.
Grades and Grading
Grinnell uses the following grading system:
|| Satisfactory (A-C without grade point value)
|| Withdrawn without credit or academic penalty
|| No grade reported by instructor.
All grades are recorded on a student’s permanent transcript.
Students are expected to participate actively in classes. It is important that students avoid class absences. A student who has been absent for any reason is still responsible for all work in the course. Individual instructors determine the effect of absences upon course grades. An instructor may recommend to the Committee on Academic Standing that a student be dropped or withdrawn from a course because of excessive absences. (See policy on Instructor-Initiated Course Drop or Withdrawal.)
If a student is ill and must miss class, they should refer to the syllabus in that course and follow the absence/make-up policy established by the professor. If no absence policy has been established, the student should contact the professor prior to or as soon as possible after the absence to discuss whether the absence will be excused and whether make-up work will be accepted. In all cases, it is the instructor’s decision whether to excuse the student from class.
Grinnell College acknowledges and embraces the religious diversity of its faculty, students and staff. Faculty and students share responsibility to support members of our community who observe religious holidays. Students will provide faculty members with reasonable notice of the dates of religious holidays on which they will be absent, and this notice would be expected to occur no later than the third week of the semester. Faculty members will make reasonable efforts to accommodate students who need to be absent from examinations or class due to religious observance. Students are responsible for completing any part of the course work, including examinations, which they have missed due to religious observance, and faculty members are responsible for giving them the opportunity to do so.
Quizzes and examinations are administered during the semester at the discretion of the instructor, except that the instructor is expected to announce any hour-long examination one week in advance. Final examinations, where required, must be held according to the published examination schedule. Neither students nor faculty members may make changes without prior approval from the Registrar. A student is not normally permitted to make up missed final examinations. A student absent from any announced hour-long examination or final examination because of an emergency, such as personal or family illness, may make up the examination or reasonable substitute if they provide the instructor with written verification from a physician or parent/guardian. Student Health and Counseling Services staff can provide this verification to the Division of Student Affairs for an exam only when the student is seen at Student Health and Counseling Services while they are ill or is a patient at the hospital.
A student who is absent from an examination because of participation in scheduled collegiate athletic activities, or in tours, field trips, and similar events approved in advance by the faculty or the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, is permitted to make up the examination or reasonable substitute. If requested, the director of any such activity will furnish a list of all participants to the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising before each event.
Incomplete Course Work (Extensions beyond the end of the semester)
All course work for the semester (including all examinations, reports, notebooks, essays, laboratory work, etc.) for the fall or spring is due no later than 5:00 p.m. of the last day of the examination period. For summer individual studies and summer internships, all course work must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. of the last day of the summer semester. In either case, instructors may stipulate an earlier due date for course work.
The Incomplete Request Form is available by request in the Office of the Registrar, the office of the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising, or online through GrinnellShare and requires the written endorsement of the instructor (i.e., more than a signature.) To request an extension of no more than two weeks beyond the end of the semester to complete course work, submit a completed Incomplete Request Form to the Office of the Registrar. The deadline to submit an Incomplete Request Form to the Office of the Registrar for the fall or spring semester is 5:00 p.m. on the Monday of exam week. The deadline to submit an Incomplete Request Form to the Office of the Registrar for summer individual studies and internships is 5:00 p.m. on the Monday of the week that work is due for summer.
Eligibility for an incomplete is based on the following criteria: The student must (1) be registered for 14 or more credits; (2) be a non-graduating senior; and (3) be in good academic standing. Students who do not meet these criteria or who wish to request more than one incomplete in a semester must gain the approval of the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising.
Students are responsible for submitting completed course work directly to the Office of the Registrar, not to the instructor. Work can be mailed or e-mailed; in either case, it must be postmarked (mail) or date-stamped (e-mail) by the deadline date specified on the Incomplete Request Form. Work mailed to the Office of the Registrar should be sent by certified mail, so that lost items may be tracked by the U. S. Postal Service. The College is not responsible for losses by the U. S. Postal Service. Work received by the deadline is forwarded to the instructor for grading. Credit is not given for work submitted after the approved deadline. Approved incompletes do not entitle students to occupy residence hall rooms beyond 12:00 p.m. on the day after the final examination period ends.
Course Passed with “D” Grades
Courses passed with “D” grades are subject to these limits:
A maximum of 16 credits of “D” grades may count toward satisfying the 124-credit graduation requirement.
Credit earned with a grade below “C” may not count toward the satisfaction of any requirement for a major or an interdisciplinary concentration. This includes all extra departmental and cognate courses such as mathematics, statistics, and languages.
A grade of “C” or better is necessary to satisfy a prerequisite for a higher-level course. Instructor’s approval is required to add a course with a prerequisite in which the student received a “D” or “F”. When seeking approval from the course instructor, the student is required to disclose that they received a “D” or “F” in a prerequisite course.
Grades are reported to students and their faculty advisers at the end of each semester via Colleague Self-Service, Grinnell’s secure online student and adviser portal. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the College has a responsibility to maintain the privacy of academic records. For more information on FERPA and how a student may permit disclosure of their grades to a third party, see the Office of the Registrar’s FERPA page. To ensure security, students should never share their college network ID and password (i.e. their Self-Service account access information) with anyone else.
Instructors are asked to inform the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising whenever a student’s work in a course becomes unsatisfactory during the semester.
A grade verified by the Office of the Registrar may only be changed if the instructor’s request is approved by the Dean of the College. Such requests are typically only approved when there has been an error in calculating or assigning the grade. A request based on an evaluation of late work must be considered and approved by the Committee on Academic Standing.
A student will be placed on the Dean’s List if they attain a semester grade average of 3.75 or higher. In order to qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must complete 16 credits or the maximum semester credit load permitted according to a documented accommodation. At least 14 of these 16 credits, or similar ratio in the case of an accommodation, must be taken for a letter grade. Only credits completed at Grinnell and those programs directly administered by Grinnell will be used in determining eligibility. A student cannot earn Dean’s List recognition if he or she has an incomplete or an NGR (no grade reported). A student who has an incomplete or NGR converted later to a letter grade and who thereby becomes eligible for the Dean’s List will be placed on the Dean’s List retroactively.
Grade Appeal Process
After receipt of final course grades for a Grinnell College semester, a student may appeal if they believe that the stated policies in the course syllabus for calculating grades were not followed or that an error has been made in assigning a grade. The following paragraphs outline the process for appealing a grade. If an individual believes they have been discriminated against, they should consult the Grinnell College Discrimination and Harassment Grievance/Complaint Procedure.
1. The course instructor is the primary authority in matters of grading in the course.
2. In general, an appeal of a grade must be based on the grading procedures as outlined in the course syllabus.
3. An appeal of a grade must be initiated within 30 days of the course grade being reported to the student via publication on Colleague Self-Service. An information notice of the 30-day window for appeal will appear on the Self-Service portal screen for all students and faculty.
4. In filing a formal grade appeal, a student must be able to indicate that the instructor did not follow the stated policies in the syllabus and/or in other written course materials when determining the final course grade.
Grade Appeal Steps:
1. Grade Confirmation: As a first step, the student should email the instructor requesting confirmation that the correct grade has been reported. If the grade was reported in error, the instructor shall ask the Dean of the College to change the grade. The Registrar (firstname.lastname@example.org) should be copied on all correspondence related to this matter. If the instructor does not respond to the student within the 30- day window for appeal, the student should notify the Registrar’s office before proceeding to the next step.
2. Grade Appeal: If the instructor confirms the original grade, and the student wishes to appeal the grade, the student must submit a formal written statement detailing relevant facts in support of the appeal referencing the syllabus or other materials shared with the class, as appropriate. The appeal must indicate that the instructor did not follow the stated policies in the syllabus and/or other written course materials in determining the final course grade. This appeal should be submitted electronically and must be received by the Registrar’s office within 15 days of grade confirmation from the instructor. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Registrar’s office shall notify the instructor and request a copy of the course syllabus, component grades, and any other relevant information.
3. Appeal Review: The Registrar’s office will review the student’s appeal to determine if the appeal meets the criteria stated in step 2 “Grade Appeal.” If so, the Registrar will notify the instructor and allow them the opportunity to respond to the appeal within five business days of being notified by the Registrar. The appeal and instructor’s response will be reviewed by the Dean of the College who will determine if an adjustment of the grade is justified. The Dean of the College may also solicit advice of the relevant personnel.
4. Appeal Decision: If the Dean believes that there may be grounds for the grade to be changed, the Dean will consult with the faculty member assigning the grade prior to deciding to change the grade. The Dean of the College’s decision regarding the appeal will be reported to the student and instructor in writing and is final.
Majors, Concentrations and Teacher Certification
Declaration of Major
Satisfactory completion of a major field is required for graduation. Most major programs require a minimum of 32 credits but may include more. At the department’s discretion and approval, up to 8 credits from related fields (cognates) may be counted toward the major. The requirements for each major program are listed in the Academic Departments, Majors and Concentrations section of the Grinnell College Academic Catalog. Academic departments typically expect that the majority of courses constituting the major, and all required courses, will be completed at Grinnell.
The Declaration or Change of Major Form may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. A student declares a major prior to preregistration for the fifth semester (typically during the spring semester of the second year) and is held to all major requirements in effect at the time of declaration. The head of the department in which the major is declared, or a designated colleague, then becomes the student’s adviser. Most students choose a single departmental or interdepartmental major, however, a student may be permitted a second major or may arrange a special program as an independent major.
Changing a Major
Changing a major is done on the Declaration or Change of Major Form and requires the approval of the new major advisor and department chair.
Completing a Major
Students are held to the major requirements in effect at the time they declare their major. Students are expected to plan their schedules in advance in order to complete the courses required for their major when those courses are normally offered. Since the completion of a major is one of the requirements for graduation, waiving any of the specifications of the major (required courses or course distributions) must be first approved by the department and then approved by the Committee on Academic Standing. Transfer courses may be counted towards the completion of the major if they are approved by the department and the department chair has officially notified the Office of the Registrar. A major cannot be completed out of residence.
In the case of a second or “double” major, no credits are allowed to be shared with the other major. When a concentration and a major are related, up to 8 credits of work included in a student’s major may also be counted toward the concentration. In the case of a second or “double” concentration, no credits are allowed to be shared with the other concentration. Only up to 8 credits total may be shared between all majors and all concentrations.
Declaration of an Independent Major
Most students choose an established major, but students who have demonstrated high academic achievement may, in cooperation with two faculty advisers, design an independent major. The Declaration of Independent Major Form and Instructions may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. For initial advice concerning completion of the application, students should consult the Office of the Registrar. This is a substantial process and deadlines are important. Independent major regulations are:
An independent major is a coherent study program that cannot be pursued within the College’s established majors. The application begins with a purpose statement describing the major questions that prompt the proposal and the major themes that unify the proposed course work into a coherent body of study.
The quality of a student’s academic record may be a sufficient reason for turning down an application. To receive approval for an independent major, it is expected that a student’s cumulative GPA of all graded Grinnell College courses is at least 3.0 at the time the application is submitted for consideration.
The work of the major is divided into (a) the courses forming the methodology and subject matter core of the program, and (b) elective courses that supplement the basic core. The core program provides a solid foundation in one or more academic disciplines by the inclusion of those courses most fundamental to the theory and methodology of those disciplines. Students are required to complete the core program as approved. The Dean of the College must approve any change. Additional work for the major is chosen from the approved elective list.
The independent major must include a minimum of 36 credits plus the 4-credit senior thesis (499), taken in not less than two or more than four academic departments established by the College. The program must have at least 32 credits of course work with a maximum 4 credits of individual study work (Plus-2, 297, 299, 387, 397, 399, and 499) or internship (300.) At least 8 credits of course work must be at the 300 level or above, and not more than 4 credits of work at the 100 level.
Two faculty advisers are required for all independent majors to assist in planning the major and to supervise the thesis. One adviser must be a full-time faculty member. The other may be part-time. Advisers should be persons who expect to be at Grinnell in the student’s senior year to supervise the thesis planning, research, and writing. If one of the advisers leaves the College, on leave or permanently, the student is responsible for finding another faculty adviser and having the change approved by the Dean of the College.
All students pursuing independent majors must complete a senior thesis. The senior thesis is an academically demanding research project, and students applying for an independent major should be prepared to engage in a rigorous, self-guided research process that culminates in a high quality senior thesis. The independent major thesis should utilize the ideas that unify the major into a coherent whole. Both in conception and in execution, the thesis must have approval of both faculty advisers. Acceptance of a copy of the finished thesis by the Dean of the College completes this requirement of the major.
The independent major is indicated on the student’s transcript by a specific title such as “Independent Major: International Relations.” Titles should be short (two or three words) and descriptive of the course work as a whole. The courses that constitute the major are not specified on the transcript.
Students carrying an independent major may not carry a second or double” major.
To be considered for honors in an independent major, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must demonstrate, by consensus of their two advisors, superior performance in course-work and curricular breadth, combined with superior progress (to the date of consideration) on the senior thesis.
Declaration of a Second or “Double” Major
The procedures for declaring second majors require the following:
The Major Declaration or Change of Major Form may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. This form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar no later than the first day of preregistration for a student’s seventh semester (typically spring of the third year).
Courses must be designated to one major, but not both.
A statement explaining why the requested second major is necessary to achieve the student’s particular educational objectives as described in the comprehensive academic plan submitted with the first major and how the second major will modify that plan.
The request must have the approval of the adviser of the first major, the adviser of the second major, and the department chair of the second major.
A liberal education should include both depth of study in one discipline and breadth of study in several. The required completion of a major fulfills the first requirement. The interdisciplinary concentrations offered at Grinnell provide one way to fulfill the second, for each was conceived as an integral part of a liberal education.
Each recognized concentration includes an organized cluster of courses drawn from several disciplines and related to a common focus of interest. Thus, each provides a structured introduction to a broad area of study while including sufficient flexibility to adapt each program to a student’s particular focus of interest. Each culminates in a senior seminar in which students and faculty draw upon their work in the several disciplines.
In most of the programs, the senior seminar provides time for pursuit of a research topic appropriate to the field and to the student’s level of accomplishment in the relevant disciplines. Students may complete a concentration in addition to a major. Concentrations are shown on a student’s transcript. Students wishing to pursue a concentration are expected to declare their intention before preregistering for their seventh semester (typically spring of the third year). To declare a concentration, students discuss their plans with the program chairperson and obtain their signature on the Declaration of a Concentration Cover Sheet. Students then complete the appropriate Concentration Worksheet and submit it, along with the signed Cover Sheet, to the Office of the Registrar.
When a concentration and a major are related, up to 8 credits of work included in a student’s major may also be counted toward the concentration. In the case of a second or “double” concentration, no credits are allowed to be shared with the other concentration. Only up to 8 credits total may be shared between all majors and all concentrations. Completion of a concentration is entered on a student’s permanent record together with the student’s major.
Students who want to earn teaching licensure must apply to enter the Practitioner Preparation Program no later than the deadline for declaring a major, that is, prior to preregistration for the fifth semester (typically during the spring semester of the second year.)
Students should discuss licensure requirements with education department members as soon as they have determined their major since the requirements for licensure in secondary education are usually different than the requirements for the major. In addition to the course requirements in the major and in education, students must take courses in all divisions of the College.
Grinnell has a ninth semester program in which student teaching is completed the semester following graduation. This program is strongly recommended by the Grinnell College Department of Education, but with careful planning and department approval students can complete the program in eight semesters. Applications for both the licensure program and student teaching may be obtained from Department of Education website.
Pre-matriculation Credit (AP, IB, and Other Examination Credits)
Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Advanced Level, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (CAPE) Credits
A student entering Grinnell will be granted four semester credits for each qualifying exam as indicated on the Office of the Registrar’s website. Such credits are awarded based on an official score report received directly from the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP credit), an official transcript received from International Baccalaureate (IB credit), or an A-level or CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam) official certificate. Typically, credits are granted for scores of 4 or higher for AP and 5 or higher for IB on Higher Level courses only, B grade or better for A-level or a II or better for CAPE but specifics are contained on our website.
The conditions for acceptance of credit for exams taken prior to matriculation at Grinnell College are:
- First time first year students are limited to a maximum of 24 pre and post-matriculation credits (AP, IB, A-level, CAPE, college credits).
- All AP/IB/A-level/CAPE credits are counted as Divisional credit and are not subject to the 48 credit departmental limit.
- AP/IB/A-level/CAPE credits awarded count toward the 124 credits required for the degree.
- Where an equivalent course is listed on the website chart, the AP/IB/A-level/CAPE credits can be used to meet the prerequisite for another course.
- AP/IB/A-level/CAPE credits count toward the 32 or 34 credits required for a major only if the website indicates “For major credit”.
- AP/IB/A-level/CAPE scores and corresponding credit will be cancelled upon successful completion (“D” grade or better) of any equivalent Grinnell course.
Other Examination Credits
Grinnell will also award a maximum of 16 credits for the German Abitur examination or the French Baccalauréat examination. Exams to be accepted by Grinnell College must be in subjects where we would also accept AP scores.
Grinnell does not grant credits for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test or other such programs.
Students matriculating as first-time first-year students must complete at least six semesters in residence and are limited to a maximum of 24 pre- and post-matriculation transfer credits (AP, IB, A-level, CAPE, college credit). For students with an approved program to study off campus for one semester, the program credits are excluded from the 24-limit of transfer credits and the semester off-campus is counted toward the residency requirement. For students approved for yearlong off campus programs, only one semester of off campus study will count toward the residency requirement, although the credits from both semesters will be accepted.
Currently enrolled students who attend another properly accredited institution have the responsibility of submitting the Transfer Course Approval Form to the Office of the Registrar in a timely fashion. In addition it is their responsibility to consult the Student Handbook on the limitations of transfer work after matriculation to Grinnell.
The evaluation of transfer credit by the Registrar involves at least three considerations:
- The educational quality of the institution;
- The comparability of the nature, content, and the level of credit earned to what Grinnell currently offers; and
- The appropriateness and applicability of the credits earned to the programs offered by Grinnell, in light of the student’s educational goals.
Courses in which a grade of C or above (C– is not acceptable) is earned at other regionally accredited institutions are transferable or applicable toward major or degree requirements at Grinnell. In addition, courses that are graded on a pass/fail basis must be accompanied by documentation from the school issuing the credit that the passing grade reflects work at C or above (C– is not acceptable).
When transfer credits or Grinnell College credits overlap or duplicate Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), A-level or CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam) credits, the highest credit value will be accepted. For courses that may apply to either a major or a concentration, the department chair of the major or concentration, at the request of the student, will make a determination and notify the Office of the Registrar in writing as to what credits can be applied toward the major or concentration. AP/IB/A-level/CAPE credits will be cancelled upon the successful completion of any equivalent Grinnell course. Students should contact the Office of the Registrar for more details.
Courses considered vocational or remedial, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits, or other such placement credits are not transferable.
Grinnell usually does not award course credit for work done through distance learning, correspondence, extension, or continuing education programs as defined by federal reporting definitions. Only courses that are (1) in traditional liberal arts subject areas (regardless of modality) and (2) accepted for credit by the sponsoring accredited institution for its own bachelor’s degree may be granted credit subject to all other transfer of credit regulations. In addition, acceptance of such work is subject to Grinnell’s evaluation of the educational quality of the institution.
Credits will not be accepted for transfer after the Office of the Registrar has verified completion of all requirements for graduation.
All summer and winter term courses, whether overseas or in the United States, must be approved in advance by the student’s academic adviser and the registrar. Prior approval ensures the transfer of credit to Grinnell. The number of summer and winter interim credits accepted for transfer is subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year students and transfer students.
Requesting Transfer Credits
Currently enrolled students who attend another accredited institution have the responsibility of submitting to the Registrar’s office, in a timely fashion, the Transfer Course Approval Form available from the Office of the Registrar. Only official transcripts sent directly to Grinnell will be evaluated.
- Grade must be C or above
- Courses in which a grade of “C-” is earned are not transferable
- Courses which are graded on a pass/fail basis must be accompanied by written documentation from the issuing school that the passing grade reflects work at C or above
Excluded Courses and Exceptions
- Courses considered vocational or remedial.
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits or other such placement credits.
- Grinnell usually does not award course credit for work done through distance learning, correspondence, extension or continuing education programs. Only distance learning, extension or continuing education courses that are (1) in traditional liberal arts subject areas and (2) accepted for credit by the sponsoring accredited institution for its own bachelor’s degree may be granted credit subject to all other transfer of credit regulations.
- Courses taken simultaneously at another institution while the student is enrolled during the fall and spring semester at Grinnell College unless that course is being offered through Grinnell in London or other programs approved by the college.
- Any course that repeats the content of a Grinnell course in which a student initially received a “D” or “F” grade may not be transferred from another institution.
- When transfer credits or Grinnell College credits overlap or duplicate Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits the highest credit value will be accepted.
- Courses taken while participating independently in a study abroad or off-campus study program while on leave, withdrawn, or suspended from Grinnell College.
First-time First-Year Students
Students matriculating as first-time first-year students must complete at least 6 semesters in residence and are limited to a maximum of 24 pre- and post- matriculation transfer credits (including AP, IB, other examinations, or college courses).
Off-campus Study Credits
For students with an approved program to study off-campus for one semester, the program credits are excluded from the 24-limit of transfer credits and the semester off-campus is counted toward the residency requirement. For students approved for yearlong off-campus programs, only one semester of off-campus study will count toward the residency requirement, although the credits from both semesters will be accepted.
Transfer Credits While on Leave or Suspension
The number of credits allowed to transfer while withdrawn, on suspension, and/or on leave from the College is subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year students and transfer students. (See above Transfer Policy) Studies to be undertaken elsewhere must be approved in advance by the student’s adviser and by the Registrar, or credits may not be accepted. Catalog descriptions for such courses must accompany the Transfer Course Approval Form when submitted to the Registrar’s office for approval.
Application of Transfer Credits to Major or Concentration
For courses that may apply to either a major or a concentration, the department chair of the major or concentration, at the request of the student, will make a determination and notify the Office of the Registrar in writing as to what credits can be applied toward the major or concentration. AP/IB credits will be cancelled upon the successful completion of any equivalent Grinnell course. Students should contact the Office of the Registrar for more details.
Summer and Winter Interim Study
The number of summer and winter Interim credits accepted for transfer is subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year students and transfer students. (See above Transfer Policy.) Studies to be undertaken elsewhere must be approved in advance by the student’s adviser and by the Registrar, or credits may not be accepted. Catalog descriptions for such courses may be required to accompany the Transfer Course Approval Form when submitted to the Registrar’s office for approval. Students who intend to pursue summer or winter study should return a completed Transfer Course Approval Form to the Registrar no later than one week before the end of fall or spring semester classes. (See the current semester calendar for the date).
A transfer student will be allowed to apply toward a degree at Grinnell a maximum of 62 semester credits of transferable work depending upon the student’s classification at the time of enrollment. If a transfer student has more than 62 credits of transferable work, the registrar will work with the student to determine which credits, not exceeding 62, will be accepted.
a) Upon matriculation at Grinnell the student is assigned a class level (FR1, FR2, SO1, SO2, JR1) based on a combination of all college credits and the number of equivalent full-time semesters of college the student completed. To graduate in eight semesters from Grinnell, the transfer student must complete a minimum of four semesters of residency at Grinnell and eight total semesters of college.
b) If the student is below the minimum credits of their initial classification, the student shall be allowed to transfer additional future summer credits to bring the student up to the minimum credits. Such courses are subject to all transfer requirements noted in the Student Handbook.
c) The student must complete a four-year plan with their adviser upon declaration of their major. If it is apparent from this plan, that an additional semester will be needed to complete the major or complete a coherent academic program, the student can request a reclassification from the Registrar’s Office. (Note: Classification affects the number of semesters of financial aid for which the student is eligible and reclassification will be made in communication with financial aid as appropriate.)
d) If the student wishes to complete college in seven semesters or less the student must apply for accelerated graduation.
e) This chart will determine classification and maximum number of credits that can be transferred during a student’s time at Grinnell College:
who enter as
semesters of college:
|Maximum # of
|Minimum # of
|Anticipated # of
|2nd Sem, 1st Year (FR2)
|| 12-27 credits
|| 92 credits
|1st Sem, 2nd Year (SO1)
|| 28-43 credits
|| 78 credits
|2nd Sem, 2nd Year (SO2)
|| 44-59 credits
|| 62 credits
|1st Sem, 3rd Year (JR1)
|| 60-62 credits
|| 62 credits
*This number may be reduced subject to accelerated graduation requirements.
Students are strongly encouraged to begin exploring Off-Campus Study (OCS) programs during their first year. The year before their intended OCS term(s), they must submit an on-line application by the early December 5 deadline or final February 1 deadline. The majority of students apply for a single semester off campus. Approval for studying away for a year on one or two programs is awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account GPA, course planning, written rationale, and faculty recommendations.
The first step in the approval process is to review the OCS website - as well as the OCS application portal at travel.global.grinnell.edu. These set out the procedure for seeking advice, choosing an OCS program, and applying for approval. With the exception of a Grinnell Internship offered through the Center for Careers, Life, and Services in the summer, this approval process does not apply to summer study. Students interested in studying away during the summer do not apply through OCS but are required to consult with their academic adviser and complete a “Transfer Course Approval Form,” available on the Registrar’s GrinnellShare.
Academic regulations for on-campus students also apply to off-campus programs. In addition, students must normally be third-year or first-semester fourth-year students in good academic standing (see definition under “Academic Review” section), with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75, making normal progress toward graduation and having completed any prerequisite courses for the program. Second-year students are eligible to participate in the Grinnell-in-London program. The program must be integrated with the student’s overall educational objectives, as determined by the student and the academic adviser. The application and courses proposed for the program should make use of opportunities particular to that part of the world and type of program (including interest in the local language), and be consistent with the liberal arts education offered by Grinnell. Approval to study off campus is also subject to faculty recommendations and endorsement by the academic adviser and the Institute for Global Engagement Advisory Board. Students must complete all requirements for graduation, including those for the major, in a maximum of eight semesters, including the OCS term(s).
Transfer students admitted as first- or second-year students may be granted one semester off campus, but those admitted as third-year students are not eligible for OCS programs except for the Grinnell-In- London program.
Approval granted to students who subsequently are placed on academic probation or academic warning may be revoked at the discretion of the Committee on Academic Standing. Students placed on strict academic probation or who are suspended or dismissed from the college are no longer eligible to study off campus. In either case, students remain liable for any and all program charges incurred up to that point.
The number of OCS credits transferable to Grinnell College is subject to prior approval. Credits in excess of 18 will be assessed a Grinnell overload charge.
All credits are evaluated according to the grading system in effect on the OCS program. For non-Grinnell programs, grades and credits for courses in which the equivalent of a “C” or above is earned appear on the Grinnell transcript. Grades for courses below a “C” appear, as well, but no credit is transferred (C- is not transferable). Grades from courses taken on non-Grinnell programs are not calculated into the GPA. Grades and credits from courses taught by Grinnell faculty on Grinnell-in-London appear on the transcript and are calculated into the GPA, just as on campus courses. Grinnell-in-London courses taken from local faculty follow the same credit transfer policies as courses on non-Grinnell programs.
No courses may be taken on a pass/fail or “S/D/F” basis. Incompletes may not be taken off campus, regardless of the policy of the OCS program. A course initially reported as incomplete will not be recorded on the Grinnell transcript even if finished at a later date.
If the student’s proposed course plan changes after approval notification, it is strongly advised that the student contact the academic adviser and OCS staff to verify with the Registrar that courses are acceptable and transferable to Grinnell. Neglecting to secure approval for course changes may result in credits not being transferred to Grinnell.
Financial Aid for Off Campus Study
Students approved for off-campus study (OCS) programs who wish to receive aid must complete the same financial aid forms as students intending to remain on campus. All financial aid deadlines and requirements still apply. Notifications of financial aid for the fall semester are generally provided in the spring, and adjustments to financial aid for the spring semester are made in the fall.
Grinnell will charge its own tuition and fees for any student enrolling in an off-campus study program for which tuition is equal to or less than Grinnell’s tuition. Grinnell will charge students the actual tuition of the off-campus program where tuition exceeds that of Grinnell. Housing, food, and other miscellaneous charges billed by the program to Grinnell College will appear as charges on the student’s account, in addition to tuition. An administrative fee of $350 will also be charged.
Certain conditions apply to OCS that may affect financial aid eligibility:
- For domestic students, the family contribution is determined using the same federal and institutional formulas for studying on-campus and OCS programs.
- Depending on the comprehensive cost associated with attending an OCS program, students may have to borrow additional funds or contribute more than they would if they remained on campus.
- Students receiving only merit scholarship, such as the Founder’s Scholarship, and Grinnell Choice Scholarship can use this assistance for OCS. However, aid cannot be adjusted upward to reflect increased costs.
- Some tuition remission benefits can only be applied to Grinnell-in-London. Students will be considered for need-based financial aid (grants and loans), if they submit a financial aid application. Eligibility will be determined based on the cost and resources (family contribution, tuition remission, and other aid) for the entire academic year, not semester by semester. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about the application process or whether your tuition remission benefits can be used for other OCS programs.
- Students often cannot legally work abroad or access work-study through a domestic OCS program. Therefore, each student’s need is met only with grants, scholarships, and occasionally loans for their semester or year of OCS.
- Financial aid is not available for pre/post-sessions that start before or after the approved OCS program. This includes intensive language study before the program begins.
- Aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance.
- Students who decide to attend an off-campus study program not approved by the OCS Board are not eligible for aid through Grinnell College.
For more information please visit the Office of Financial Aid’s OCS web page. All questions pertaining to financial aid should be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid.
Normal Scholarly Progress
Students are expected to make Normal Scholarly Progress toward the degree, defined as 1) earning the equivalent of four 4-credit courses each semester after the first semester and 2) maintaining a defined minimum cumulative grade point average for the student’s class standing.
A student is making Normal Scholarly Progress toward graduation if they have earned the credits and cumulative grade point average listed below by the end of each specified semester at Grinnell:
||Minimum # of credits earned
*Some first-semester students may be advised to enroll for fewer than 16 credits.
Standards of Academic Performance
In addition, students are expected to meet the College’s Standards of Academic Performance. The Committee on Academic Standing meets twice each year to review the academic records of students who are not meeting these standards. Students that fail to attain Grinnell College’s minimum Standards of Academic Performance may be warned, placed on probation or strict probation, suspended, or dismissed; according to the criteria detailed below. Students and their faculty advisers are notified via email of all Committee actions.
The College may suspend or dismiss a student at any time whose academic progress and/or performance are not satisfactory. Previous academic action is typical but not required for the Committee on Academic Standing to suspend a student that shows a sudden semester decline in credits earned or GPA.
The Committee on Academic Standing may also consider other factors when considering academic actions including GPA trajectory, prior Committee actions and their requirements, internal academic monitoring, failing courses in a major or a repeated course, and other evidence of student academic engagement. Occasionally, non-academic factors are considered by the Committee when weighing academic actions. In general, the most severe action indicated by these guidelines is employed.
Students meeting all conditions of the academic action letter issued to them by the Committee on Academic Standing may have their warning, probation, or strict probation lifted when reviewed by the Committee at the next progress review. Students who do not meet all of these conditions, but show significant academic improvement over the previous semester, may remain on or be moved to probation.
Good Academic Standing
Good Academic Standing is defined as 1) making Normal Scholarly Progress toward the degree and 2) having no academic sanctions more severe than probation. Strict Probation or Suspension removes a student from Good Academic Standing.
A student suspended or dismissed may ask for reconsideration by the Committee on Academic Standing. A written appeal must be received by the Registrar’s Office by the appeal deadline indicated in the suspension/dismissal notification (usually one week after its receipt). Favorable reconsideration is usually based on presentation of new evidence that previously was not available to the committee, such as evidence of temporary extenuating circumstances for past failures.
Suspended students may be readmitted when there is evidence, for instance, of successful work elsewhere and that the individual has matured sufficiently to be a successful student. Readmission requires favorable action by the Committee on Academic Standing.
Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities
While the primary concern of a student at Grinnell College is academic, the College recognizes the value of extracurricular activities and offers many opportunities for participation. There are a few eligibility requirements, and occasionally, even eligible students may be advised for academic reasons to drop some extracurricular activities.
- Students on strict probation are not considered to be in good academic standing and are therefore ineligible to represent the College in intercollegiate athletics competition according to NCAA Division III regulations.
- Students who are not in good academic standing are ineligible to participate in off-campus study and may be ineligible for other opportunities, as well.
- To be eligible to serve as a student adviser, a student must not be on academic or conduct probation.
Removal of Personal Belongings
Students suspended or dismissed from the College should make immediate arrangements with the Division of Student Affairs to vacate rooms in residence halls or college houses. Students should contact the Assistant Dean and Director of Residence Life and Orientation to make arrangements for their belongings. Students who do not make arrangements will have their belongings packed and removed for which a fee will be charged. The College is not responsible for the belongings of any student who is not enrolled for classes.
Leaves and Withdrawal from the College
Two kinds of leaves of absence are available to students: personal leaves and emergency/medical leaves. Students should see the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising in the Academic Advising Office to request these leaves.
A personal leave of absence enables a student to work, to travel, or to pursue interests not involving formal studies. Students are allowed up to two semesters of a leave of absence for personal reasons between the times they matriculate and graduate from Grinnell.
The application includes a written portion available from the Academic Advising Office and an in-person interview with the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising. Applications are normally due in the semester prior to the requested leave, but late requests will be considered through noon of the fifth day of classes during the leave semester. By noon on the fifth day, a student must be on campus and registered for a full load of courses, or they must have submitted the paperwork to the Academic Advising Office requesting a Personal Leave. All other students are automatically withdrawn from the College.
For a student in good academic standing, no qualifications are necessary to obtain a personal leave. A student who is on academic probation or who has received an academic warning may be required by the Committee on Academic Standing to submit a statement of how they propose to complete the degree program after returning from leave.
A student may request permission to count credits completed at another college or university while on leave toward satisfaction of Grinnell degree requirements (subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year and transfer students). The student submits a Transfer Course Approval Form to the Registrar. Personal leave semesters do not count toward the residency requirement.
Students who have taken a personal leave apply to the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising to re-enroll at the College. Students who do not contact the Academic Advising Office and who fail to re-enroll after their period of leave will be withdrawn from the College.
The College supports an exception to our two semester personal leave policy in situations where students are required by their home government to perform military service or in cases of religious observances. Students should complete the standard Personal Leave of Absence application, and all normal procedures and deadlines apply. Further, international students should check with the Associate Dean and Director of International Student Affairs to ensure clear understanding of visa implications.
Any student needing to take time off from Grinnell due to circumstances such as illness, family emergency or military service may request an emergency leave of absence, normally not to exceed two semesters. Students should present their situations with documentation to the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising in the Academic Advising Office prior to registration for classes or anytime during the semester up to 5:00 p.m. of the last day of classes.
If a student is granted an emergency leave by the end of the second week of the semester, all courses enrolled in for the semester and not yet completed are deleted from the student’s record. Students granted emergency leaves after the second week of the semester will have the ‘W” transcript notation assigned to all of their courses. Refunds for a semester in progress are granted according to the policy in the Grinnell College Catalog. Students are expected to depart campus within forty-eight hours of submitting their request for a leave of absense; requests for exceptions should be made to email@example.com.
A student may request permission to count credits completed at another college or university while on leave toward satisfaction of Grinnell degree requirements (subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year and transfer students). The student submits a Transfer Course Approval Form to the Registrar. Semesters spent on leave do not count toward the college’s residency requirement.
Students seeking to return from an emergency leave should contact the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising in the Academic Advising Office at least eight weeks prior to the beginning of the semester for which they intent to return. Requests to return should include a written personal statement about the student’s recovery during time away, a letter from a licensed medical or psychological professional who has been holistically involved in treatment, and signed release forms to allow campus personnel to communicate with the student’s providers. Within two weeks of receiving a completed application, the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising will fully review all materials, consult with the student and any relevant parties and make a final decision.
In the event that a student believes an error has been made during this process - either with the request to take a leave or to return from a leave - the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. (An appeal based on concerns about disability or other types of discrimination may also be made according to the college’s nondiscriminatory policy.) Appeals must be made within 7 calendar days from the date of the decision; if an appeal is not submitted within 7 calendar days, the original decision of the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising is final. Appeals should specifically cite incorrect facts or unfair application of Grinnell’s leave procedures and provide information to support these statements. Any medical information submitted as part of the appeal must include signed releases for the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College and for the college clinician assigned to review medical information to discuss pertinent information with the student’s health care provider. After receiving the appeal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, or designee, will review all relevant facts and information and respond in writing to the student within 10 business days.
Involuntary Leave of Absence Policy
Grinnell College is dedicated to a learning environment where all students can thrive. When a student experiences a crisis, is in distress, or exhibits concerning behaviors, Grinnell College remains committed to supporting that student while also preserving the safety and security of the Grinnell College community and its members.
This policy is not intended to replace disciplinary actions taken in response to violations of other Grinnell College policies. A student who commits a violation of any Grinnell College policy before taking voluntary leave or being placed on involuntary leave may be required to defend such charges before being considered for re-admission. Temporary suspension may also be issued in accordance with the conduct process.
This policy will not be invoked unless the student’s behavior is of such a serious nature that the continued presence of the student at Grinnell College is judged to threaten (A) the safety, well-being or health of members of the Grinnell College community, or (B) the ability of that student or others to engage in customary functions and activities at Grinnell College.
This policy outlines the individualized process that will be utilized when a student engages in behaviors that may necessitate an involuntary leave of absence from Grinnell College or other conditions or restrictions.
II. Direct Threat Standard
In situations where a student poses a threat to the health and safety of the Grinnell College or wider community or its members, or has seriously disrupted others in the residential community or academic environment and a reasonable accommodation is not available, the Dean of Students will convene a Behavioral Evaluation Team (may include but is not limited to the Assistant Dean of Student Success, the Dean for Health and Wellness, the Director of Health Services, a representative from Counseling Services, the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Director of Campus Safety) to make an individualized and objective assessment of the student’s ability to safely participate in the academic and residential life of Grinnell College. The assessment will be based on a reasonable judgment relying on the most current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence.
The assessment will determine:
- The nature, duration and severity of the risk;
- The probability that the potentially threatening injury or event will actually occur; Whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices or procedures will sufficiently mitigate the risk.
To rise to the level of a direct threat, there must be a high probability of substantial harm and not just a slightly increased, speculative, or remote risk.
The individualized assessment may result in Grinnell College requesting or requiring that the student take a leave of absence, or imposing restrictions to address the health or safety threat or disruption to the community.
The Dean of Students or designee is responsible for determining whether a student has met the threshold that initiates the application of this process. In making the determination, the Dean of Students or designee will make an initial individualized and objective assessment which will include reviewing available documentation and consulting with other Grinnell College officials as appropriate and feasible under the circumstances.
A. Review and Decision Process
To determine whether a leave of absence or other measure are warranted, the Dean of Students or designee will:
- Review all available documentation of the student’s behavior.
- Consult with other Grinnell College professionals including representatives across Student and Academic Affairs, professors, and individuals from other departments as appropriate and feasible. This consultation may occur at or in conjunction with a Behavioral Evaluation Team meeting.
- Review relevant medical documentation, as available. As situations allow, students may be asked or required to release relevant medical information from their treating physician to Grinnell College’s Behavioral Evaluation Team.
- Seek, when appropriate, involvement and cooperation from parents or guardians.
- Use all available information gathered to make an individualized assessment of the student’s behaviors, using the direct threat standard, to determine if a leave of absence or other administrative measures are necessary to address the health and safety concerns or to address the disruption to the community.
- Meet with the student, if feasible, to review the reasons why a leave of absence is being considered, providing opportunity for the student to respond and give relevant medical information or other materials.
When a determination is made that an involuntary leave of absence is necessary, the student may be offered the opportunity to take an emergency leave of absence, voluntarily, or, if appropriate, agree to other administrative conditions in order to remain at Grinnell College.
If the student is incapable of responding on their own behalf, or if the student elects not to respond to inquiries or directives of the administration, Grinnell College reserves the right to either place the student on an involuntary leave of absence or impose administrative restrictions as a condition of remaining at Grinnell College.
Involuntary leaves of absence take effect immediately. Students may not attend class or other activities of the college and must vacate their residential housing assignment immediately. The student’s p-card will be deactivated.
B. Temporary measures
If a threat to health and safety or threat of community disruption presents an immediate risk of harm, the Dean of Students or designee may implement immediate administrative measures as a temporary involuntary leave of absence or restriction on a student’s access to the campus (including housing, services, classes, activities, and facilities) until the Dean of Students or designee is able to review the matter and make a determination using the above process.
C. Conditions of Leave and Return
If the student is placed on an involuntary leave of absence or agrees to an emergency leave of absence, voluntarily, under this policy:
- Conditions for an involuntary leave of absence and any conditions to apply for re-enrollment will be provided to the student in writing. Any conditions for the leave and return will be individualized to the student and designed to help ensure that the health and safety or concerns of disruption are resolved and the student is qualified to return. Requests to return should include a written personal statement about the student’s recovery during time away, a letter from a licensed medical or psychological professional who has been holistically involved in treatment, and signed release forms to allow campus personnel to communicate with the student’s providers. Conditions for return may also include compliance with treatment plans, examination by independent or Grinnell College health professionals, release of relevant medical records, interviews, and a demonstrated ability to meet Grinnell College’s academic and conduct standards.
- If the student takes a leave of absence- voluntarily or involuntarily, by the end of the second week of the semester, all courses enrolled in for the semester and not yet completed are deleted from the student’s record. After the second week of the semester, the student will have the “W” transcript notation assigned to all of their courses. Refunds for a semester in progress are granted according to the policy in the Grinnell College Catalog.
- Leaves of absence are not documented on student transcripts.
- Although a request for return will be assessed whenever requested by a student, involuntary leaves of absence are generally for a period of no less than six months.
D. Appeal Process
A student who has been placed on an involuntary leave of absence from Grinnell College or been subject to other restrictions or conditions may appeal this decision. The student must submit the appeal and the reason(s) why the appeal should be granted within five (5) business days of notice of the involuntary leave of absence or other measures. The student must submit the appeal and the reasons supporting the appeal to the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs or their designee for review. The review will include an assessment of relevant documentation, and may include a consultation with Grinnell College officials, and/or the student. The decision on the appeal will be communicated to the student within five (5) business days from the day the appeal was submitted, unless the circumstances require more time, in which case the student will be notified. During the appeal period and process, the student will remain on leave or subject to other imposed conditions. If an appeal is denied, the decision is final and no further appeal is permitted.
If a student believes that they have been discriminated against, they have the right to seek a review of such concerns under the Non-Discrimination Policy.
Withdrawal from the College
Students withdrawing from the College must indicate their intentions in writing to the Dean of Students. Then, an exit interview must be completed in person or by telephone before the withdrawal will be processed. Refunds for a semester in progress are granted according to the policy in the Grinnell College Academic Catalog.
If a student withdraws from the College by the end of the second week of the semester, all courses enrolled in for the semester and not yet completed are deleted from the student’s record. If withdrawal occurs from Monday of the third week of classes through Friday of the ninth week of classes, a transcript entry of “W” is recorded for each of the courses not yet completed. Students withdrawing after the ninth week of classes or after the end of the semester will receive the grades assigned by their instructors; in these cases, any CAS action based on grades earned for the semester will be posted along with the withdrawal on the student’s official College transcript. Students are expected to depart campus within forty-eight hours of submitting their request for a withdrawal; requests for exceptions should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request to Return to the College from Withdrawal
Students who withdraw cannot apply for readmission to the College unless they have been away for a minimum of two semesters. Withdrawn students wanting to return to the College must submit a request to the Registrar by the transfer student application deadline. A student who has been readmitted may request permission to count credits completed at another college or university while withdrawn from the College toward satisfaction of Grinnell degree requirements (subject to the maximum allowable transfer credits for first-time, first-year and transfer students). The student submits a Transfer Course Approval Form to the Registrar. Semesters during which a student was withdrawn do not count toward the residency requirement. Students who withdraw while on probation or suspension must meet the terms of their probation, if readmitted. All readmitted students must satisfy the graduation requirements in effect at the time of their readmission. Summer and winter interim study credits can be transferred to Grinnell for students returning from a Leave of Absence or Suspension, but cannot be counted for students readmitted after withdrawal.
Student Rights Under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that governs the release of and access to student education records. FERPA affords Grinnell College students the following rights with respect to their education records:
- The right to inspect and review your education records within 45 days after Grinnell College receives a request for access. A student must submit a written Request to Inspect and Review Education Records (form available by request from the Office of the Registrar), specifying the record(s) the student wishes to inspect. The College will not provide copies of education records; however, the Registrar or another College official will make arrangements for you to access and review specified record(s).
- The right to request an amendment to your education record if you believe it is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights under FERPA. Submit a written Request to Amend Education Records (form available by request from the Office of the Registrar), clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed and specifying why you are requesting the change. The Office of the Registrar will notify you in writing of the College’s decision concerning your request. If you do not agree with the College’s decision, the Registrar will advise you regarding appropriate steps to request an appeal.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Grinnell College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202.
- The right to provide written consent before Grinnell College discloses personally identifiable information (PII) contained in your education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. Visit www.grinnell.edu/FERPA for more information.
Directory Information is student data (defined by Grinnell College) that the College may release without the student’s prior written consent, including:
- Address (local/campus and home/permanent)
- E-mail address (institutional and personal)
- Telephone number (local/campus, home/permanent, and mobile)
- Major and Concentration fields of study
- Status (including current enrollment, dates of attendance, full or part time, withdrawn)
- Graduation information (including whether a degree was conferred and/or the degree and date it was conferred)
- Academic awards received (e.g., Dean’s List recognition)
- Photograph(s) and/or video footage
- Date and place of birth
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports (including the weight and height of members of athletic teams)
- Most recent educational institution attended
You have the right to withhold the release of your Directory Information. The form to submit a Request to Block the Release of Directory Information is available online at www.grinnell.edu/FERPA. Once the form is complete it must be returned to the Registrar’s Office for processing
Release of Student Education Records to Parents
As a matter of institutional policy, Grinnell College does not release student education records, even to parents of dependent children, without the written consent of the student.
If you wish Grinnell College to release all or part of your education record to a third party, you should submit a written Authorization to Disclose Academic Information (form available by request from the Office of the Registrar) and/or Authorization to Disclose Student Affairs Information (form available by request from the Office of Student Affairs) specifying the record(s) you wish to release and the individual(s) or groups to whom you wish to disclose your education record(s). Students may designate an expriation of academic disclosure or update disclosure permission(s) at any time. If no expiration is given for the disclosure the Registrar’s Office will cancel it upon the student’s exit from Grinnell. A student must resubmit their authorization to disclose student affairs education records every academic year.
Questions About Student Education Records
Please refer questions concerning FERPA to the Office of the Registrar. A copy of FERPA, more details about your rights, and any Grinnell College policies related to FERPA are available at www.grinnell.edu/FERPA.
Documentation Retention at Grinnell College
Each department at Grinnell College maintains their own document retention timelines and processes. As a result, individual departments at Grinnell College may destroy certain student education records as a matter of departmental procedure. Departments may not destroy student education records once a student submits a formal request to inspect and review them to the Office of the Registrar.
Requests for Transcripts
Request official and unofficial transcripts through the Office of the Registrar. Students must authorize all requests for transcripts with their signature. The College will not release nor provide copies of transcripts for those who have overdue financial obligations to the College. The College will not release nor provide copies of transcripts from other institutions, including secondary schools and testing organizations (e.g. AP or IB scores).
The College follows the following procedures concerning transcript notations:
- If suspended from the College due to poor academic performance or academic dishonesty, the student’s transcript will indicate “Academic Suspension: DATE” or “Academic Dishonesty Suspension: DATE”, respectively. When readmitted to Grinnell College from suspension, the College will remove the notation from the transcript. If the student does not return to Grinnell College, the notation remains on the transcript.
- If dismissed from the College due to poor academic performance or academic dishonesty, the student’s transcript will indicate “Academic Dismissal: DATE” or “Academic Dishonesty Dismissal: DATE”, respectively. The notation will not be removed from the student’s transcript.
- If suspended from the College for disciplinary or conduct reasons, the student’s transcript will indicate “Conduct Suspension: DATE”. When readmitted to Grinnell College from suspension, the College will remove the notation from the transcript. If the student does not return to Grinnell College, the notation remains on the transcript.
- If dismissed from the College for disciplinary or conduct reasons, the student’s transcript will indicate “Conduct Dismissal: DATE”. The notation will not be removed from the student’s transcript.
Phi Beta Kappa
In the spring semester, the local Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Beta of Iowa, selects high-achieving third-year and senior students from among the candidates for election. All candidates for election as members-in-course shall meet successfully the following requirements of their academic course of study:
- Foreign language. Completion of a course at or beyond the third-semester level of a modern foreign language, or the second-semester level of a classical language, or proficiency beyond such level as demonstrated by the candidate’s educational history, e.g., years of education in a non-English-speaking country.
- Mathematics. Completion of the course Mathematics 124 or 131, or a Mathematics course for which Mathematics 124 or 131 is a prerequisite.
- General distribution. At least 12-semester credits of study in the divisions of humanities, sciences, and social studies as defined at Grinnell College, with no more than eight divisional credits counted to come from any one academic department, and completion of at least one science course with a laboratory experience. A letter grade will be required in courses used to satisfy distribution requirements for election to Phi Beta Kappa, except for courses only offered S/D/F and courses taken during the spring semester of 2020 with a S/D/F designation. Courses accepted as transfer credits by the Office of the Registrar may be used to satisfy distribution requirements, even though no letter grade appears on the student’s transcript. In any case, only courses designated to one of the three academic divisions by the Office of the Registrar will count toward the distribution requirements. For courses cross-listed in two or more divisions (such as Mathematics 115/Social Studies 115), the student should ensure that the course is designated to the desired division on his or her transcript. Academic skills courses (including writing lab, math lab, Library 100) do not count toward satisfying divisional requirements.
Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credits may be used to satisfy any eligibility requirement, provided that the Office of the Registrar has determined them to be equivalent to the relevant courses at Grinnell. A maximum of four AP credits may be used to satisfy the distribution requirement in each division. The student is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate credits are listed on hir/his/her transcript.
Transcripts will be evaluated after the add/drop period of spring semester courses. Courses that are in progress will count toward the eligibility requirements. Before the induction ceremony each year, the chapter may verify the eligibility of students to be elected by requesting that the Office of the Registrar notify the chapter if a student has withdrawn from a course needed to satisfy eligibility requirements. The chapter initiates the consideration of third-year students and seniors for membership without action by the students. Students will be notified by the chapter if they are to be offered membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
Grinnell College, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Amendments Act of 2008, recognizes that qualified students who have diagnosed disabilities are entitled to benefit from the educational programs of the College. Grinnell is committed to making reasonable accommodations for students with diagnosed or identified disabilities. These accommodations may include reasonable modifications to the academic, residential or dining environments at Grinnell College. The Disability Resource Office coordinates this process, and students in need of accommodations should contact this office. Academic accommodations may include extended time on exams, note-takers or books in auditory format. Planning for academic accommodations is the responsibility of the student in conjunction with the Coordinator for Student Disability Resources and the student’s adviser.
The Coordinator for Student Disability Resources and the Coordinator of Assistive Technology work closely together to provide accommodations and assistive technology for students who need books in alternative formats, smart pens, or other assistive technology devices. Students requesting accommodations may be required to provide the College with current, written diagnostic evaluations of their disabilities that include recommendations for appropriate accommodations. Additional information can be found on the disability and accessibility website.