Student Policies & Procedures


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Students can find College of Professional Studies and GW policies in the University Bulletin. If you have any questions about these policies please contact your Student Success Coach or your program director (who is also your academic advisor).

All requests for academic exceptions must be submitted to Student Services via petition. Students must provide detail about their request and must attach outside documentation supporting such request. Petitions will be reviewed by Student Services and the program director.

Arbitrary & Capricious Grading

For claims of arbitrary and capricious grading, in addition to the petition for academic exception students must provide:

  • Course syllabus

  • Assignment or work product involved in the dispute, if applicable

  • Statement of student grade grievance

  • Instructor response to statement of student grade grievance

  • Other relevant documents the student wishes to submit


Claims for arbitrary and capricious grading will be reviewed by the program director. Any student wishing to appeal the initial decision made by the program director must make a written request for further review to the Dean’s Office. The dean’s office will engage three instructors in the field but not associated with this particular course to review the student’s petition and the assignments and work in question. The three instructors will provide their analysis and recommendation in writing and the dean’s office will act accordingly. The dean’s office renders the final decision for grade grievances in the College.

Claims for arbitrary and capricious grading, including any appeal, must be submitted prior to the end of the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade in question was received. Claims or appeals received after such deadline will not be reviewed.

This policy and procedure for grade grievances pertains to a student assertion of arbitrary or capricious assignment of a course grade. Cases of academic dishonesty are not included, nor are allegations of illegal discrimination.


Once a student begins a degree or certificate program, he or she is expected to be enrolled continuously and actively engaged in fulfilling the requirements for the degree each semester of the academic year until the degree is conferred or certificate completed. For the fall and spring semesters, students must register for one or more credits to maintain enrollment status. A student who must interrupt active pursuit of the degree or certificate may petition the Dean, through the program director, for a leave of absence for a specified period of time, generally limited to one calendar year. If the petition is approved, the student must register for Leave of Absence in each fall and spring semester, following regular registration procedures. Students who discontinue their studies without being granted a leave of absence and students granted leaves who do not return to active study at the close of the period of approved absence must apply for readmission and are subject to the regulations and requirements then in force.

A full-time student is allowed a maximum of three calendar years from the date of the first registration as a degree student (excluding time spent enrolled exclusively in English for Academic Purposes courses) to complete all degree requirements. A part-time student is allowed a maximum of five calendar years.


The time limit does not include any period of registration as a non-degree student before admission to degree candidacy or any period spent on approved leave of absence. Students who do not complete degree requirements within the time allowed will have their degree candidate status terminated; such students may be readmitted to degree candidate status under conditions specified by the program director and approved by the Dean.

Some bachelor's completion programs have exceptions to this time limit. Please contact your Student Success Coach if you have any questions.

Students requesting to withdraw from a course once the course has begun should contact their Student Success Coach for assistance.

For semester-long courses (14 weeks or longer):

A course from which a student withdraws after the fourth week but before the end of the tenth week will be assigned a notation of W (Authorized Withdrawal). The deadline for withdrawing from a course is the end of the tenth week of classes.

After the end of the tenth week of classes, students who wish to withdraw from any or all of their courses must submit a petition, along with substantial supporting documentation, to Student Services office for consideration. Submission of a petition does not guarantee approval. Failure to withdraw by the stated deadlines can result in an extended financial obligation and the recording of a grade of F (Failure) or a notation of Z (Unauthorized Withdrawal).

Tuition refund for withdrawn courses follows the schedule of the Office of the Registrar.

For part-semester courses (8 weeks or shorter):

Students requesting to withdraw from a course after the third week for 8-week or shorter classes must obtain the written permission of the Program Director and the Dean via a petition for academic exception. If approved, the symbol W, Authorized Withdrawal, will appear on the transcript.

Tuition refund for withdrawn courses follows the schedule of the Office of the Registrar.

Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0. and graduate students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. If a student's GPA falls below the required minimum, he or she will be placed on academic probation and will be allowed one semester in which to raise the GPA to the required minimum; any such student who does not raise his or her GPA to the required minimum in one semester will be dismissed from the program. If it is mathematically impossible for the student's GPA to reach the required minimum in one semester, he or she will be dismissed from the program without a probationary period.

See Grades under University Regulations for undergraduate and graduate grading systems.

A student who receives a grade of F is subject to dismissal from the program. If the student wishes to remain enrolled, he or she must present cause for consideration by the program director and to the Dean as to why continued study should be permitted. A student who receives a grade of F, if permitted to remain in the program, must repeat the course and achieve a passing grade as well as maintain the minimum required GPA; however, once a grade of F has been received it remains a part of the student's permanent record and is calculated into the grade-point average. Students may only be granted to repeat a failed course once. Failure to receive permission to remain in the program and retake the failed course or achieve a passing grade after having been permitted to repeat a failed course will result in dismissal from the program.

The symbol I (Incomplete) indicates that a satisfactory explanation has been given to the instructor for the student’s inability to complete the required coursework during the semester in which the course was taken. At the discretion of the instructor, the symbol I may be recorded if a student, for reasons beyond the student’s control, is unable to complete the work of the course, and if the instructor is informed of, and approves, such reasons before the date when grades must be reported. This symbol may be used only if the student’s prior performance and class attendance in the course have been satisfactory. Any failure to complete the work of a course that is not satisfactorily explained to the instructor before the date when grades must be reported will be graded F, Failure. If acceptable reasons are later presented to the instructor, that instructor may initiate an appropriate grade change. The instructor and student must sign an Incomplete Agreement, available through the Office of Student Engagement, which sets forth the requirements and due dates for successful completion of the course. The coursework must be completed within the designated time period agreed upon by the instructor and student in the Incomplete Agreement, but no more than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. All students who receive an Incomplete must maintain active student status during the subsequent semester(s) in which the coursework is being completed. If not registered in other courses during this period, the student must register for Continuous Enrollment.


When work for the course is completed, the instructor will complete a grade change form and submit it to the Office of Student Engagement. If work for the course is not completed within the designated time period, the grade will be converted automatically to a grade of F, Failure, 0 quality points, and the grade-point average and academic standing recalculated. For courses taken prior to the fall 2014 semester, the grade earned will be indicated in the form of I, followed by the grade.

A maximum of one-quarter of the credits required for the degree may be approved for transfer to a graduate program in CPS from credit earned while enrolled as a non-degree student at GW or from another degree-granting school of this University or another accredited college or university. For transfer credit to be approved, all of these conditions must be met:

  • the coursework must be from an accredited institution and must have been taken within the two years prior to matriculation;

  • it must be approved as part of the student’s program of studies;

  • it must not have been applied to the completion of requirements for another degree;

  • it must be post-baccalaureate graduate-level coursework; and the student must have received a minimum grade of B in each course for which transfer credit is requested.


Requests for transfer credit must be submitted in writing and approved by the program director and the Dean during the student’s first year in the program. An official transcript of the coursework must be on file before the request can be considered.


Transfer of credit for undergraduate students is subject to specific program requirements. Students must have received a minimum grade of C in any course for which transfer of credit is requested.


Once enrolled in CPS, students are not permitted to transfer coursework taken outside the University, except under extraordinary circumstances, and permission must be obtained in advance from the Dean.

Applicants with credentials that do not meet the minimum standards for the program of study, but who nonetheless show promise of successful work, are occasionally granted provisional admission by the program director/admissions committee. During the period of provisional status, students must meet the requirements set forth in their admission letter. Students who do not meet these requirements are dismissed from the program.

CPS will not review any application for readmission to a program by a student who was dismissed from the same or any other program at the College or course of study at the University until at least one year after the student was dismissed. Students unable to achieve the required minimum GPA in one semester will not be considered for readmission to the program.

The University community, in order to fulfill its purposes, must establish and maintain guidelines of academic behavior. All members of the community are expected to exhibit honesty and competence in their academic work. Incoming students have a special responsibility to acquaint themselves with, and make use of, all proper procedures for doing research, writing papers, and taking examinations. Members of the community will be presumed to be familiar with the proper academic procedures and held responsible for applying them. Deliberate failure to act in accordance with such procedures will be considered academic dishonesty. Acts of academic dishonesty are a legal, moral, and intellectual offense against the community and will be prosecuted through the proper University channels, possibly resulting in dismissal from the program together with other University sanctions. The University Code of Academic Integrity can be found at the Office of Academic Integrity.