Academic Regulations and Policies

The Semester Calendar

Allegheny divides the academic year into two semesters of 15 weeks each. A month-long break, beginning in late December, separates the semesters. Vacations occur during October, over Thanksgiving and in March.

During semesters, classes typically meet two or three times per week for periods of 75 or 50 minutes, respectively. Associated laboratories are usually scheduled separately, although they may be scheduled at the regular class time if appropriate. Prior to registration, information about class times and examination periods for all courses to be offered is made available electronically to all students prior to Registration via WebAdvisor.

The Credit System

Most courses receive four semester credit hours, and, for a student enrolled for the usual full-time course load of 16 credits, four-credit courses are designed to require no more than one-fourth of the time devoted by the student to academics. Some courses may receive one, two, or three semester credit hours.

Course Load

The usual academic load is 16 semester credit hours in each semester and 32 semester hours for the academic year. Students may take up to 20 semester hours per semester without special permission.

Class Standing

A student is considered to be a first-year student from the date of matriculation until the semester following completion of the 28th semester hour, when the student becomes a sophomore. A student becomes a junior in the semester following completion of the 60th semester hour, and a senior in the semester following completion of the 92nd semester hour.

Final Examinations

The schedule of final examinations for the ensuing academic year is published in advance on the Registration Web Page. All students are expected to take their final examinations during the officially scheduled period. Students are required to arrange their travel and vacation plans to allow them to be present for all of their scheduled exams. Requests for changes in examination times should only be made in the following situations:

  1. The student has three exams scheduled for the same day;
  2. The student has a documented disability for which the appropriate accommodation necessitates a change in exam time;
  3. Under extraordinary extenuating circumstances.

Students with a documented disability are encouraged to discuss any accommodations to which they are entitled with the course instructor early in the semester. If the need arises to request taking the final examination at a time other than that indicated in the Academic Schedule, students must receive approval from the course instructor and the chairperson of the department in which the student is requesting the time exception. Special examinations shall only be given after careful consideration of the circumstances presented by the student. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes. Requests for exam changes after this date shall only be considered in cases of unforeseen personal or family emergencies.

Grading System

Student grades are reported on either a letter-grade basis or a Credit/No Credit basis:

Letter Grades
A 4.00 grade points – Excellent
A- 3.70 grade points
B+ 3.30 grade points
B 3.00 grade points – Good
B- 2.70 grade points
C+ 2.30 grade points
C 2.00 grade points – Fair
C- 1.70 grade points
D+ 1.30 grade points
D 1.00 grade points – Passing
F 0.00 grade points – Failure
W Withdrawal from a course under extenuating circumstances
X Student-initiated withdrawal from a course
Credit/No Credit
CR Credit
NC No Credit


The following notations are also used in reporting student work:

GP Grade Pending
L Leave of Absence granted during the semester
IN Incomplete
WC Withdrawal from the College during semester

Grade Changes

By Faculty vote, changes in course grades are allowed only in the case of a demonstrable mathematical error in the compilation or recording of a grade. All such grade changes must be approved by the Provost.

Credit/No Credit (“CR” “NC”)

Students may take up to four credit hours per semester on the Credit/No Credit basis, but may not present for graduation more than 16 credit hours of their coursework on this basis.

If students wish to take a course on the Credit/No Credit basis, they must obtain their advisor’s approval and submit a signed CR/NC card to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the second week of classes for 14-week courses or, for seven-week courses only, by the end of the second week of the module. Students are cautioned that some courses may not be taken using this option. Courses not eligible for the Credit/No Credit system are so indicated in their course descriptions.

Credit, “CR,” will be awarded for course performance equivalent to, or higher than, a passing letter grade, “D.” No credit, “NC,” will be awarded for course performance equivalent to a failing letter grade,“F.”

Grades of Incomplete

Faculty stipulate grades of Incomplete (“IN”) when they believe that extenuating circumstances preclude completion of the work on time by the student. The student is responsible for providing evidence for the extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the faculty member, who has sole authority to grant the Incomplete. Incompletes are awarded with the expectation that the work will be completed by the student in a timely fashion. When instructors submit a grade of Incomplete, they must also submit the grade that will be awarded should no further work be submitted by the student. The instructor should formulate a plan for timely completion of the incomplete work, and this plan should be addressed in the Academic Performance Report the instructor submits explaining the Incomplete grade and specifying a tentative grade.

Examples of circumstances in which an Incomplete is appropriate include, but are not limited to, serious illnesses or injuries that preclude a student from finishing work for a course; cases where the course grade depends on the outcome of an Honor Code hearing; or death of an immediate family member. An Incomplete should not be assigned when a student simply fails to turn in a final exam or project, nor when there is little likelihood that the student will be able to make up a large quantity of incomplete work (due, for example, to prolonged illness); in the latter case a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances may be more appropriate (see “Withdrawing From a Course,” below).

After appropriate consultation with the student, the instructor will determine the date by which incomplete work must be completed. In all cases, the work must be completed no later than 30 days after the first day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the student is next registered. Students who have an “IN,” but do not register in a subsequent semester or summer session, must complete the work within 12 months. Extensions to these deadlines may only be granted by the Provost or designee. If no information is provided by the instructor by the end of the 12 months, the grade that was originally submitted at the time the “IN” was assigned is posted to the transcript.

When the instructor submits the completed grade to the Registrar, this completed grade is posted to the transcript and calculated into the grade point average for the semester in which the student was registered for the course. If no completed grade or other communication is received by the Registrar from the faculty member, the grade that was originally submitted at the time the “IN” was assigned is posted to the transcript and calculated into the grade point average.

Repeated Courses

With the exception of the First-Year/Sophomore Seminars, students may repeat courses at Allegheny, provided the courses are offered again. Whenever a student repeats a course, the academic record and transcript will reflect all course enrollments and the grade earned for each enrollment. From the time of completion of a repeated course forward, only the credit and grade for the most recent attempt will be counted in computing grade point averages. (However, for those courses that can be repeated for credit – for example, music ensembles – the credits and grades for each enrollment are included in computing the academic average). If a student withdraws from a repeated course, the academic record and transcript will include the withdrawal, and the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. Students may repeat a course initially taken on the graded basis for Credit/No Credit; however, Credit (“CR”) must be earned or the grade previously awarded will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. In the event a student receives a grade of Incomplete (“IN”) for a repeated course, the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages until such time as the student completes the coursework and a final grade has been submitted.

Transfer of Courses

Transfer credits must be approved by the Office of the Registrar and, if they apply toward the student’s major or minor, by the department concerned. To be acceptable for transfer credit, U.S. courses must be taken in residence at (i.e., through registered enrollment in) a regionally accredited institution and must be of a liberal arts nature. Courses taken outside the U.S. must be transcripted either by an accredited U.S. partner institution or by a foreign institution certified in its home country by a process of comparable rigor to U.S. accreditation. For courses taken under the standard U.S. semester system, the number of semester credit hours awarded by Allegheny is equal to the credit awarded by the institution at which the course was taken. For institutions that use other systems, the credit awarded by the institution is converted to the equivalent number of semester credit hours.

A grade of “C” or better must be earned in each course; courses with grades of “C-” or below will not be accepted for transfer. Courses taken on a pass/fail basis will be accepted only if a grade of “pass” is equivalent to at least a “C” at the awarding institution. Transfer credit will not be awarded for any course for which a student has previously earned credit at Allegheny. In addition, if a student subsequently takes a course at Allegheny for which transfer credit has previously been awarded, the transfer credit will be removed from the student’s Allegheny transcript. Transferred course credits count toward the graduation requirement of 128 semester credit hours, but the grades for such courses are not included in the student’s academic grade-point average. The Allegheny transcript does not indicate the grades of transferred courses.

The number of credits that can be transferred toward the undergraduate degree is limited by the residency requirement, which also limits how students may sequence transfer and Allegheny courses as they complete the final courses for their undergraduate degrees. For more complete information, see “The Residency Requirement.”

Transcripts received from other accredited institutions are evaluated by the Office of the Registrar as promptly as possible. Students desiring to have work completed at other institutions considered for transfer credit should arrange to have official transcripts or other appropriate documents forwarded to Allegheny College as soon as possible. No transfer credit can be awarded until the appropriate documents have been received by the College.

Concurrent Enrollment

Matriculated, degree-seeking students are not permitted to enroll in classes simultaneously at Allegheny and at another institution. With the exception of credit for courses in an approved off-campus study program, credits earned at another academic institution during the same term that a student is in residence at Allegheny will not be accepted for transfer. Approved off-campus programs are defined as EL seminars; Allegheny-sponsored off- campus study programs; and Abroad Independent programs administered by Allegheny’s Office of International Education.

College Credit for Prior Coursework

Allegheny can accept a maximum of 32 credits from first-time freshmen for work completed prior to matriculation. This includes Credit by Examination (see below), credit obtained for college-level courses offered at high schools by accredited colleges and universities, which is treated as transfer credit, and transfer credit for work taken in residence at accredited colleges and universities. (See Transfer of Courses, above.) Students who wish to receive credit for college-level courses offered at high schools or who are now considering taking college or university courses elsewhere should contact the Office of the Registrar for advice about transfer credit and/or selection of courses.

Credit by Examination

Students may earn college credit at Allegheny by participating in the Advanced Placement Program (AP) of the Educational Testing Service, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and the International Baccalaureate (IB) testing programs. To be eligible for credit, exams must be taken before the student enters college, though scores may still be submitted after enrolling.

Students may receive credit by examination for a maximum of 20 semester credit hours (five courses). Students who receive scores of four or five on an AP examination will receive academic credit, subject to the 20-credit limit on credit by examination. Placement will be determined by the appropriate department. AP credit and course placement are considered only after receipt of official examination scores from the Educational Testing Service.

Individuals who perform well on certain CLEP tests may receive both credit and placement, usually at the first-year or sophomore levels. Departments, in consultation with the Office of the Provost, periodically establish which credits may be earned by standardized testing. Students who score five or better on the higher-level examinations of the IB testing programs may be granted credit and placement by some departments.

Course Registration

The normal process of preregistration for continuing students is online through WebAdvisor during the published preregistration period. Using WebAdvisor, advisors may grant approval for advisees to register. Once students have obtained advisor permission, they may register for courses electronically. For certain courses, a student may be required to obtain a signed registration card from the instructor to register for a course. First-year students register for fall semester courses during the summer advising period for new students.

Students may complete or change their registration during the College course change periods by submitting the approved registration cards (see “Adding and Dropping Courses”). Students must complete their registration for all courses for which they seek credit by the end of the change period. Students who are currently enrolled in an approved study away or visiting student program should consult with their advisor and the Registrar. Students granted a Leave of Absence who have been approved to return by the Office of the Dean of Students, and who have notified the Office of the Registrar of their intent to register in person, may also register during the registration period. Other re-entering and transfer students may register for the fall semester during Orientation in August.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Students may add and drop 14-week courses through the first two weeks of the semester. Students may add and drop seven-week courses through the first two weeks of the module in which the course is offered.

To add or drop any class, students must adjust their schedules in WebAdvisor (if it is open to do so) or submit a completed change of schedule card to the Registrar’s Office by the deadlines published in the online Academic Calendar. Students intending to add a course after classes begin must secure the written permission of the instructor and notify their advisor; those wishing to drop a class must notify both the instructor and advisor. Students should be aware that, after a class starts, instructors will become increasingly reluctant to admit additional students. Courses dropped will not appear on the official transcript but will appear, as appropriate, on the academic record maintained by the College.

Withdrawing from a Course

A student who wishes to withdraw from all courses during a semester should take a Leave of Absence or withdraw completely from the College; see the sections on “Leaves of Absence” and “Withdrawal From the College and Readmission.”

Courses may be dropped during the first two weeks as described above. Once the drop deadline has passed, withdrawals are noted on the transcript as described below.

Student-Initiated Withdrawal (“X”)
Students may withdraw from a 14-week course without grade penalty through the first nine weeks of the semester. Students may withdraw from a 7-week course through the first four weeks of the course. Such a withdrawal will be denoted on the official transcript with a grade of “X,” but the course will not be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA. A student contemplating a student-initiated withdrawal must consult with an academic advisor and course instructor. The advisor and instructor must sign a Student-Initiated Withdrawal card to verify that students have discussed their plans to withdraw from the course. The Student-Initiated Withdrawal card must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the deadline published in the on-line Academic Calendar. Students may take a student-initiated withdrawal for at most one course in a single semester and at most four courses during their studies at Allegheny.

Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances (“W”)
If, as a result of extraordinary extenuating circumstances, a student wishes to withdraw from a course after the appropriate course registration change period has expired (see “Adding and Dropping Courses,” above), the student may ask the instructor to grant a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances (“W”). Such a Withdrawal can only be granted to a student whose performance has been significantly affected by unexpected circumstances beyond the student’s control. For example, a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances may be granted in the event of a prolonged serious illness, or if there is a serious and incapacitating change in a student’s family situation. A Withdrawal cannot be granted simply for poor academic performance or failure to attend class, nor will it be granted when a Student-Initiated Withdrawal (“X”) is appropriate. The student is responsible for providing evidence of extraordinary extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the faculty member, who has sole authority to grant the Withdrawal. When such a request is granted, the student’s transcript will show a grade of “W.” This grade will not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average.

Internship Registration

All students seeking academic credit for an internship must obtain faculty approval and must register for the internship during the semester or summer session prior to beginning the internship experience. Approval of academic credit will not be granted for internships in progress or following their completion. The student’s transcript will reflect internship enrollment for the semester or summer session in which the student actually participates in the internship experience. Students may present a maximum of eight semester credit hours of internship credit within the first 128 semester credit hours needed for graduation.

Information on possible internships is available from the Allegheny Gateway. Students interested in participating in an internship experience that is not listed as a departmentally sponsored internship should consult with their academic advisors and the Gateway.