Faculty and Staff Handbook

24th Edition, 2015 Version

Chapter VIII - Academic Standards, Procedures and Policies

8.2 Academic Standards

8.2.1: Curriculum Approval Processes

Approval Processes for courses are located in the committee description for the University Curriculum Committee (Chapter III).

Approval Processes for programs (e.g. majors, minor, emphases, certificates, SAE, ITC, WIS, General Education, Liberal Arts, and Foundation Courses in Agriculture) are located in the committee description for the Academic Program and Policy Committee (Chapter III). [FS 12/13-131]

8.2.2 Scheduling of Classes

Only courses listed in the official schedule of classes can be offered for credit and only for the number of credits listed. Working with individual faculty members, department chairs propose classes for the coming year, usually during the previous fall. These proposals are reviewed and approved by the academic Deans. Time and room assignments are coordinated by the Registrar's Office.

A schedule for the full year is posted online each spring semester, prior to the preregistration period for the following fall semester. It is arranged by the academic Deans on the basis of available faculty and available classrooms. Any changes in courses, hours, or days must be approved by the Dean of the College in order to avoid unnecessary hardship to students. Courses that are required, but that are uneconomical, will be scheduled in alternate years.

For maximum use of space and maximum service to a variety of students, class scheduling needs to be offered through the entire day and occasionally evenings and Saturday mornings.

One semester credit consists of approximately 750 minutes of class time plus appropriate work outside of class, not including final exams.

8.2.3 Syllabi

A syllabus for each course must be filed in the office of the Dean of the College in a form prescribed by the College and University Curriculum Committees.

It is recommended that all faculty and instructional staff complete a syllabus for each class, where appropriate, to be handed out to students; the syllabus may include the following items:


Grading: (include how the grade will be determined and what will comprise final points)
Exams: (format of exams and approximate dates)
Assignments: (include what assignments will be, such as papers, cases, and other projects and points assigned to each)
Other course requirements/expectations:

(list outline by week, day or sequence)

8.2.4 Prerequisites

Variations from prerequisites listed in the catalog must be authorized by the chair of the department in which the course is listed.

8.2.5 Special Course Fees

Special course fees are defined as charges in addition to the regular instructional fee (tuition) and segregated fees. These fees are assessed to all students enrolled in courses which have an approved special course fee on file with the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance. Special course fees must be used solely for support of the course involved. Difficulty in securing adequate regular budget support shall not be the determining factor in the decision to charge a special course fee. Special course fees can be used only to cover cost of special fees related to a course. Special course fees cannot be used for expenditures that are unrelated to the original special course fee request (i.e., capital purchases, faculty travel to workshops, etc.). When filling out the Request for Approval of Special Course Fee form be sure to justify the reason for charging the special course fee.

  1. Complete a Request for Approval of Special Course Fee form. This form must be completed for a new special course fee, or a revised (increase or decrease of fee amount) special course fee.

Complete the following:

A. Course Name
B. Department number, course number, section number. If fee is for all sections of a course please indicate. The section number is important because the special course fee will be rolled over automatically for future terms; therefore, once a special course fee is approved, it will continue to be charged until a request for a change has been made. However, if a future term course has a different section number than on the original request, the special course fee will not be charged to the student.
C. Department name
D. Person submitting request
E. Reason for special course fee
F. Amount of special course fee
G. Department account number the special course fee should be deposited in when it is collected from the student.
H. Do all students in class pay the special course fee? If not, contact the Accounts Receivable Office

II. Forward the completed Request for Approval of Special Course Fee form to department chair

A. Department chair denies the request and returns the request to the person submitting the request or
B. Department chair approves the request and forwards it to the Office of the Dean

III. Dean’s Office receives the approved request for Approval of Special Course fee form and reviews it

IV. The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance receives the approved Request for Approval of the Special Course Fee form and reviews it

A. The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance denies the request and returns the request to the Office of the Dean or
B. The Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance approves the request and

1. Sends one copy of the approved Special Course Fee form to the person submitting the request.

2. Sends one copy of the approved Special Course Fee form to the Accounts Receivable Office.

3. Files one copy of the approved Special Course Fee form.

8.2.6 Admittance to Class

Students must register before attending classes. A student is not to remain in class unless the Registrar has notified the instructor by class roster of his or her admittance. Preliminary class rosters are modified during the semester. The class grade rosters are
available online at the end of the semester.

Slash courses are numbered with both undergraduate and graduate numbers (300/500, 400/600.) Freshman and sophomores are not permitted in 300/500 and 400/600 courses. Juniors and seniors are permitted in 300/500 and 400/600 courses. No undergraduate students may enroll in 700-level courses under any circumstances. A sophomore may petition the Dean of Graduate Studies for admission to a 300/500 course, but only under extraordinary circumstances, and with written support of the instructor and adviser.

8.2.7 Auditing Classes

Students who wish to audit a course will be required to register for the course after those enrolled for credit have registered and on a space available basis with the following conditions:

a. the approval of the faculty member in charge of the class must be obtained by the auditor;
b. any special costs for course instruction other than normal fee charges are assessed auditors availing themselves of this opportunity; and
c. a student who opts to enroll on an auditor basis under this policy may not change from an "audit" to a "credit" status or a "credit" to "audit" status after the fifth day of classes.
Students desiring to register for courses on an audit basis may obtain an audit card in the Office of the Registrar. Students must submit the approved audit card to the Registrar's Office on the last day to add a course (the fifth day of classes). An audited class is not counted in computing a student's credit load, but the instructor is required to report the satisfactory completion of the audit to the Registrar. Fees for courses which are audited vary according to the status of the student. Please contact the Cashier's Office for specific
course charges.

8.2.8 Pass-Fail Privilege for Undergraduate Students

Students often hesitate to pursue coursework outside their major field. To encourage more breadth academically, the University allows qualified students to enroll in a course on a pass-fail basis.

a. The Privilege

  1. Credits earned under the pass-fail system will be counted for degree requirements but will not be included in the computation of the student's honor point ratio. (2) The grade will be recorded on the student's permanent record as either "S" (pass) if the grade is "D" or better or "U" (fail) if the grade is "F". A "U" grade is included in computing the student's honor point ratio.

b. Requirements for the Privilege

  1. Juniors and seniors who are not on scholastic probation may take one course per semester on a pass-fail basis with a maximum of 3 courses or 12 credits.
  2. Courses which may not be taken on a pass-fail basis are those required for General Education and for requirements or curriculum options within a departmental major or a departmental minor. Internships are an exception to this rule.

c. Conditions for the Privilege

  1. Under no circumstances will the student be permitted to change a course either to or from a pass-fail basis after the second week of classes each semester or the first week of the summer session.
    Care should be taken that courses which might be necessary for a major or preprofessional program, decided on later, are not taken as pass-fail.
  2. If it is determined that a student elected a course without being eligible or without meeting the requirements, the student will be required to carry the course on the conventional grading scale.

d. Procedures for courses on the Pass-Fail System

  1. A student meeting the pass-fail requirements and planning to enroll in a course on this system must secure the approval of the advisor and academic Dean prior to the end of the second week of classes each semester or the first week of classes during the summer session.
  2. With the advisor, the student should complete a Pass-Fail Privilege Form, obtainable from the Registrar's Office. This form is to be completed in duplicate with the original copy being forwarded to the Registrar's Office following approval by the academic Dean. The second copy will be returned to the advisor.

8.2.9 Drop and Add Policy for Spring and Fall Semester

Students can drop or add a course online without a faculty signature during the first five (5) university business days of the semester beginning with the first academic class day of the semester. Students must submit a completed drop-add card that includes their instructor's and advisor's signatures on the card to drop or add a class after the first five (5) university business days of the term. Students can drop a class during the first 15 university business days of the semester without any record on their transcript (business days are defined as Monday through Friday, beginning with the first academic class day of the semester and ending on the last academic class day of the semester). Students can drop a class within 16-50 university business days with a "W" recorded on their transcript. Students may initiate a late drop after 50 university business days for verifiable, non-academic reasons. A late drop requires the completion of the late drop form, including signatures of the instructor and the advisor, and approval from the Dean's Office associated with the student's major. Drop and Add Policy for the Summer and J-term Sessions

Students can add a course online without a faculty signature during the
first business day of the session for 1 an 2 weeklong sessions;
through the second business day of the session for 3 and 4 weeklong sessions;
through the third business day of the session for 7, 8 and 10 weeklong sessions;
through the fifth business day of the session for 13 and 14 weeklong sessions.

Business days are defined as Monday through Friday, beginning with the first academic class day of the session and ending on the last academic class day of the session.

Students can drop a class during the first 10% of the university business days of the session without any record on their transcript.

Students must obtain a completed drop-add card that includes their instructor's and advisor's signatures on the card to drop or add a class after the specified time intervals stated above.

Students can drop a class within the first 70% of the university business days within a session with a "W" recorded on their transcript.

Students may initiate a late drop after 70% of the university business days in the session for verifiable, non-academic reasons.  A late drop requires the completion of the late drop form, including signatures of the instructor and the advisor, and the approval from the Dean's Office associated with the students major.

8.2.10 Student Withdrawal

Students who withdraw from the University during the academic term must initiate the withdrawal process through the Registrar’s Office, 105 North Hall. Withdrawals initiated after the 6th week of the term are indicated on the official transcript.

The academic Deans can, at their discretion and in extraordinary situations, assign a grade of NG (no grade) to students withdrawing from the University effective prior to final exam week of the academic term. When a NG grade is recorded, it has no impact on grade point average.

The dates that a withdrawal is processed will determine if there is a refund of tuition.
Tuition or refund questions should be directed to the Accounts Receivable Office, 217 North Hall, 715-425-3145.

8.2.11 Religious Observances

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in concert with University of Wisconsin System Policy, promotes a commitment to the individual needs of students by reducing attendance conflicts between education requirements and the exercise of religious beliefs. University of Wisconsin-River Falls specific guidelines are as follows:

  1. Students with a legitimate conflict between an academic requirement and a religious observance must be given an alternative means of meeting the academic requirement. Individuals must notify the instructor within the first three weeks of the class (or earlier if the religious observance comes sooner), of the specific days or dates on which they will request relief.
  2. Mandatory academic requirements should not be scheduled on days when an acknowledged religious observance causes students to be absent from scheduled functions. The claim of a religious function should be accepted. However, the instructor may set reasonable limits on the total number of days claimed by any one student.
  3. Student grades should not be affected because the individuals are absent from class due to a legitimate conflict with a religious observance (this includes attendance requirements).

8.2.12 University Sponsored Off-campus Activities and Field Trips

Criticism arises due to the interruption of student programs by off-campus activities, especially during the spring term. Staff members can lessen criticism by careful scheduling. Scheduling field trips on Saturday is recommended or, if a weekday is essential, varying the hours and the days. Such activities should not be scheduled during the final exam period or one week prior to final examinations.

Students will not be penalized for missing class in order to participate in University-sanctioned events. If class attendance is a requirement, missing a class in order to participate in a University-sanctioned event will not be counted as an absence. Such absences do not relieve the students of any of their class responsibilities (e.g., homework, exams, lecture notes, etc.). Students are responsible for completing course requirements that are due on the dates of University-sanctioned events per prior agreement with the instructor.

A University-sanctioned event is defined to be any extracurricular event (e.g., educational field trips or conferences, theatrical performances, intercollegiate athletic contests, musical performance or tours, etc.) as approved by sponsoring Department and the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designee.  Such activities should not be scheduled during the final exam period or one week prior to final examinations.  Prior written notice of the student's absence due to a University-sanctioned event will be provided to the instructor by the sponsoring department.

Departments sponsoring such events are responsible for obtaining the Provost and Vice Chancellor's approval prior to an event for it to be determined as sanctioned. Faculty should consult the Provost's website for details regarding the process required to obtain approval for a university sponsored off-campus activity or field trip. [FS 13/14-19] Policy on Class Absence due to Military Service

Students shall not be penalized for class absence due to required military obligations, as long as such class absence does not exceed 10% of course contact hours. Special permission for additional time may be granted by the instructor. Students are responsible for notifying faculty members of such circumstances as far in advance as possible and for providing documentation to the instructor to verify the reason for the absence. The instructor is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations or opportunities to make up exams or other course assignments that have an impact on the course grade. In all cases, the student is responsible for completing all course requirements.

8.2.13 Special Events and Convocations

Faculty members may require student attendance at special events in lieu of their own classes, but only if this attendance does not conflict with other classes.

8.2.14 Final Examinations

All faculty members are required to give final examinations and, unless excused by their Dean, at the published hours. Any faculty member has the option of not giving a final examination if, in the opinion of the Dean, a final examination would serve little purpose. Reasons for such permission would include:

a. The course is essentially a "studio" or "project" course so that there is little basis for a final examination.
b. Sufficient exams have been given, including one during the last class or lab meeting, and the instructor prefers to discuss these exams during the final examination period. The faculty member will meet with the class during the assigned examination period either for instructional or testing purposes. A faculty member's request to the Dean for permission to use the period for instructional purposes should be filed at least one week before the exam week.

As a general policy graduating seniors and special students are required to take final examinations. Faculty may excuse individual graduating students or special students from final examinations only when individual considerations warrant.

UWRF requires the scheduling of a study day between the last day of regular classes and the first day of final exams every semester. Any day of the week except Sunday may be designated as the study day.

8.2.15 Final Grades Submission of Final Grades

The class rosters with final grades recorded on them are due in the Registrar’s Office on or before the fifth working day following the last scheduled examination. The instructor is responsible for checking the accuracy of the information on each grade roster. [FS 04/05-19] Submission of Final Grades for J-Term/Winter Sessions and Summer Sessions

The class rosters with final grades are due in the Registrar's Office on or before the fifth business day following the last day of the session in which the course is scheduled.  The instructor is responsible for identifying the correct session in which their course is taught and checking the accuracy of the information on each grade.

8.2.16 Grades and Honor Points

The official UWRF grading scale used by the Registrar’s Office and SIS is as follows:

[FS 04/05 #17]:

A 4.0 C+ 2.333
A- 3.667 C 2.0
B+ 3.333 C- 1.667
B 3.0 D+ 1.333
B- 2.667 D 1.0
F 0

Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing total honor points by the total number of graded credits attempted:

Honor Points ÷ Graded Units Attempted = GPA

8.2.17 Unofficial Withdrawal Policy for Title IV Aid Purposes

Students are defined as unofficially withdrawn for Title IV purposes when they do not have any grades for the semester other than “XF“, a failing grade due to non-attendance. Identification Process

Instructors indicate online any student who is not, based upon their judgment, currently attending their class and are asked to give a last known date of class attendance for those students who are not attending, if possible.

A final grade of “ XF“ is assigned by instructors failing students due to non-attendance. When instructors assign an “XF“ grade they are asked to report the last known date of attendance, if possible.

At the end of each semester, a report is generated of all students who have Title IV aid and who have a semester GPA of 0.00. Those students who have all “XF‘s” are assumed to be ‘unofficially withdrawn’. Administrative Action

The report is reviewed for those students with federal and state aid whom are assumed to have unofficially withdrawn from the University. The last date of attendance as reported by any of the instructors is determined and used in the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.

If a last day of attendance cannot otherwise be determined, the student is assumed to have attended 50% of the enrollment period and the formula is calculated based on that length of attendance.

Students will be billed for resulting institutional charges and repayments of federal and/or state financial aid.

An “XF” grade is treated as an ‘F’ for all other policy purposes.

8.2.18 Interim grades: Incomplete, Satisfactory Progress Incomplete:

A grade of incomplete (I) may be given for a verifiable, non-academic reason at the instructor’s discretion upon student request. If the student does not complete the coursework and a A-F grade is not given within two semesters (excluding J-term and summer terms) the course grade becomes an F. See Instructor Preference paragraph ( below for exceptions to this rule. When a student completes the work, the incomplete (I) grade is replaced with the new grade (A-F). The notation for I and SP is taken off of the students’ records when the course work is completed. The student is responsible for being aware of the financial aid implications of his or her grades. Satisfactory Progress:

A grade of satisfactory progress (SP) may be given by the instructor when the work of the course extends logically or for pedagogical reasons beyond the end of the term. The instructor will give the SP after assessing that the work to date demonstrates progress. If the work is not completed at the conclusion of two semesters (excluding J-term and summer terms) and the instructor does not submit a grade, the course grade becomes an F. The student is responsible for being aware of the financial aid implications of his or her grades. Graduation:

The student must resolve all outstanding I and SP grades before the diploma is granted. Instructor Preference:

The Registrar’s Office will notify instructors of all I and SP grades outstanding in the 12th week of the semester, indicating which instances will become F at the conclusion of the semester. The instructor may return by the grade deadline the list indicating students for whom he or she is extending the I or SP grades for one more semester, and after that time the I or SP becomes an F. [FS 06/07-66] Not Reported:

In cases where grades are not received through SIS or other agreed-upon means by the announced deadline, all students in the course will receive a grade of NR (not reported). The department/program chair will be notified and will contact the instructor immediately to ascertain the problem. The grades should be submitted by the instructor as soon as possible. The NR will be expunged from the students’ records, not appearing on either the Degree Audit Report (DAR) or the transcript once removed by the instructor. [FS 06/07-117]

8.2.19 Student Appeal of Grades

The presumption is that grades are correct as assigned, unless there is clear and convincing evidence supporting an allegation of inequity in grading practices. The student bringing the complaint bears the burden of proof when initiating an informal or formal appeal process. Appeal of a grade must be made within one semester (not counting summer or J-term) of receiving the grade. If a student wishes to make a complaint concerning a grade, the student should first discuss the matter with the instructor of the course involved. If the matter is not satisfactorily settled, the student should then discuss the matter with the chair of the department in which the course was offered. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved by the chair, the student should then make a written complaint to the Dean of the College in which the course was offered, including a clear statement of the problem and arguments or evidence to support the student's complaint. The Dean will discuss the matter with the student, faculty member and chair, and will attempt to resolve the matter and render a decision. A final complaint in written form may be made to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  An appeal committee of five, as a subset of the Academic Standards Committee, approved by the Academic Standards Committee, will hear the complaint and make a recommendation to the Provost's Office. The student may be accompanied by another person(s) of their choice at any stage of the complaint process.  

Problems arising from clerical error or other problems not related to equity in grades are to be handled through the College Dean's office. Information and other particulars concerning the grading system can be found in the current University Catalog. The faculty member may not change a student's grade after it has been recorded in the Registrar's Office except in the event of an error, which must be reported on a form supplied by the Registrar's Office. The form must contain a written explanation of the error and must be signed by a Dean.

8.2.20 Suspension and Probation Policy [FS 10/11-45] Good Academic Standing

Students are in good academic standing if they maintain a cumulative resident grade point average of 2.000 or greater. Academic Probation

Academic Probation indicates a level of student academic performance that is below what is required for successful progress towards the completion of a student's degree program.  It is an advisory warning that a student should take action to raise his/her level of achievement to an acceptable level of performance.


Students will be placed on academic probation if:

  • They have earned a cumulative grade point average less than 2.000 at UWRF.
  • They have earned a fall or spring semester GPA of less than 1.667.
  • They are readmitted after having left UWRF while they were on probation or suspended for academic reasons. Academic Suspension

A suspension action is taken when a student's academic performance indicates a need for a student to interrupt his/her enrollment status and reassess his/her goals, plans and ability to be academically successful. Once placed on academic suspension a student is not allowed to enroll in courses at UWRF during either fall or spring semester until he/she is readmitted to the university. 


Students will be suspended if any of the following items apply:

  • Their semester and cumulative grade point average is less than 2.000 at the end of two successive semesters at UWRF
  • They have earned a fall or spring semester GPA of less than 1.000.

Students do not need to me be on probation for this suspension regulation to take effect. Readmission after Suspension

A student who has been suspended may apply for readmission to the university through the Office of the Registrar. The Dean of the college to which a student seeks readmission will review the student’s application for readmission and make the decision on whether readmission will be granted. Depending on the circumstances, it is the Dean’s prerogative to readmit the student or not and determine the length and criteria of the suspension.

8.2.21 Repeated Courses

[FS 12/13-69]

A student may repeat a course in which a grade of 'C-', 'D+', 'F', 'XF', 'U', or 'W' was earned.

Students may request to repeat course in which other grades were received only if there are extenuating circumstances.  To request this exception, a Course Repeat Exception form must be completed and approved by the student's advisor, the chair of the department offering the course, and the student's Dean BEFORE the end of the first day of classes for that term.  If the form is not completed and submitted to the Registrar's office by the end of the first day of classes for that term, the student will be automatically dropped from the roster.

The original grade will remain on the student's transcript.  The new grade will replace the previous grade when the computing the grade point average (GPA).  If a student repeats a course and earns a lower new grade, the lower new grade will be used in the computation of the GPA.  If a student withdraws from a course taken as a "Repeat," the original grade earned will be reinstated in the overall GPA calculation.  

The University does not guarantee the right to repeat any course.  Courses may be deactivated, discounted, or offered on a different schedule.

Students may not retake course at another institution in order to raise their UWRF GPA.  Transfer credits generally applies towards graduation.  However, grades for these coursed will not be calculated into the UWRF cumulative GPA

Note: Athletes should check with their coaches before repeating courses in which a grade of a D was earned, as it may affect their athletic eligibility.  Students receiving veterans' benefits may not count in benefit level determination those credits for which grades of D were previously earned.

8.2.22 Test-Out Program

Students with especially strong backgrounds have the opportunity to test out of up to 12 semester hours of credit through departmental testing, except in the Modern Language department, which allows up to 14 semester hours of credit.

Students may not test out of courses for credit if they have taken the course, if they are currently enrolled in the course, or if they have taken higher-level courses than those they are attempting to test out of. Students are not allowed to attempt to test out of a course more than once.

Transfer students may have to take additional coursework at UWRF in the event that the institution from which they transferred did not grant test-out credits.

Students must be enrolled full time in order to test out and receive credit without paying additional fees. Students enrolled less than full time may attempt to test out. However, if successful, they must pay fees for the credits received.

A student may not receive test-out credit for more than two courses in any one department except in the departments of Modern Language and Health and Human Performance.

The Department of Health and Human Performance allows up to 3 hours of test-out credit.

The Modern Language department allows up to 14 semester hours of test-out credit. However, the student must take the next higher course in that language and pass with a grade of B or better. The Modern Language test-out is for incoming freshmen who learned French, German or Spanish as a second language. Native speakers and transfer students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. High School special students may also receive test-out credit in French, German or Spanish by passing the test-out exam, by paying additional fees, and by meeting all departmental criteria. High school special students taking the Modern Language test-out and planning to enroll at UWRF may defer the application of their test-out credit until their enrollment as a matriculated student and their meeting of all department criteria.

8.2.23 College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Examinations

A passing grade on any/all of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) General Exams taken before July 1, 2002 will be a raw score at or above the 55th percentile. A passing grade on any/all of the general exams taken on or after July 1, 2002 will be a raw score at or above the 50th percentile.

The University of Wisconsin–River Falls will follow the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines and recommendations for awarding credit for CLEP Subject Exams. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls academic departments will determine if credit is granted for specific courses or as elective credit on a case-by-case basis. Students may be considered for CLEP credit only if they have not already taken a college-level course in the same area as the CLEP exam. [FS 05/06-22]

8.2.24 Commencement Participation Policy

Commencement programs are held at the completion of fall and spring semesters. Information regarding graduation and applications are available from the Registrar's Office. Graduating seniors have the option to participate in Commencement the term they are completing all degree requirements. Students who are completing their final requirements during the summer session have the option of participating in the Spring
Commencement or the following Fall Commencement. Although summer session graduates may elect to participate in an earlier Commencement program, the degree and diploma will be awarded only after all degree requirements have been fulfilled. Fall or spring graduates who wish to participate in an early Commencement program must make an application for graduation and write a letter of appeal to the Registrar.

Students who are requesting to participate in an early Commencement must follow the published Commencement participation deadline date for the term they are appealing. Appeals to participate in an early commencement will be approved only if all of the following conditions have been met:

  1. There is an extenuating circumstance.
  2. The student has nine or fewer credits to complete the degree or has only student teaching or an internship to complete degree requirements in the following semester.

The Registrar will review the appeal and approve or deny the request based on the above criteria, and written notification will be sent to the student.

Although students may be allowed to participate in an early Commencement program, the degree and diploma will be awarded only after all degree requirements have been fulfilled.

8.2.25 Academic Merit

Academic Merit before graduation is recognized by placement on the Dean’s List. Superior scholarship is recognized at the completion of fall and spring terms by publication of the Dean's List. Undergraduate (Freshman-Senior) degree-seeking students are eligible to receive this honor. Students must complete a minimum of 12 credits, receive a minimum of a 3.500 term grade point average, and have no grades of F, outstanding incompletes or repeat grades during the academic term. Outstanding SP designations will not preclude students from receiving this honor.

At graduation three types of merit awards can be received—Senior Merit, cum laude merit, and completion of the Honors Program. These awards will be given at the College award ceremonies in the spring pending completion of all credits. Persons who qualify only after all credits have been counted will also receive honors at that point. · Senior Merit: Graduating seniors who have maintained a 3.5 GPA for their last 60
honor credits will receive Senior Merit.

  • Cum Laude: Graduating seniors with a minimum cumulative 3.7 GPA for their entire college career at all institutions will receive their diplomas cum laude.
  • Magna Cum Laude: Graduating seniors with a minimum cumulative 3.8 GPA for their entire college career at all institutions will receive their diplomas magna cum laude.
  • Summa Cum Laude: Graduating seniors with a minimum cumulative 3.9 GPA for their entire college career at all institutions will receive their diplomas summa cum laude. [FS 06/07-118]

8.2.26 Academic Honors Regalia

Commencement is designed to recognize academic achievement.  The function of the academic regalia shall be to recognize academic achievements.

a. Seniors who graduate cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude may wear honor cords at the Commencement ceremony. These honor cords will be bestowed at the individual College honor ceremonies.

b. Graduating seniors who have completed the Honors Program may wear honor cords at the Commencement ceremony to symbolize their achievement. The bestowing of the honor cords will be left to the discretion of the Honors Program Director.

c. Graduating seniors who are members of national honor academic societies that have a chapter on the UWRF campus may wear the organization’s honor cords at the commencement ceremony. The bestowing of the cords will be left to each organization's local advisors. Honors regalia may include cords, ribbons, pins, and medallions. The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Academic Standards Committee makes administrative decisions with respect to the type of honor regalia that may be worn. Non-academic accoutrements are unlikely to be approved. [FS 06/07-119], [FS 11/12-103]

8.2.27 Conversion of Incompletes Prior to 1990 and 2002

For courses in which incompletes were received prior to the semester changeover (1990- 91), a designation of 'N', which will be treated as a 'W', will replace the 'I'. A student may petition the Dean of the appropriate College to change the 'N' back to an 'I' in the semester that the student is readmitted.

For courses in which incompletes were received prior to 2002-2003, a designation of ‘N’ will replace the ‘I’. ‘N’ designations do not impact GPA calculations, nor do they grant credit for the course. A student may petition the Dean of the appropriate College to change the ‘N’ back to an ‘I’ in the semester that the student is readmitted. [FS 07/08-19]

8.2.28 Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures

Student academic disciplinary procedures are covered by the Wisconsin administrative code. Please see for the relevant procedures.

8.2.29 165+ Credit Surcharge Background

Starting in the fall of 2004, Wisconsin resident undergraduate students who have earned 165 credits (or 30 credits more than required for their degree programs, whichever is greater) will be charged a surcharge, equal to 100 percent of the regular resident tuition, on credits beyond that level. This policy, created by the Board of Regents, views a college degree from the perspective of a taxpayer. There are many legitimate reasons why students might accumulate “excessive” credits. This policy will not prevent students from pursuing their goals, but it will be at a cost that is less subsidized by Wisconsin taxpayers. This is not a policy that UWRF can decide whether or not to implement. This is a UW System mandate. The policy covers all Wisconsin resident undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelors degree, including students pursuing a double major. Minnesota residents and other non-Wisconsin residents, graduate, post-baccalaureate, and non-degree students are not affected. The policy applies to all credits earned at UW System campuses and Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) transfer credits accepted toward a degree. Retroactive, Advanced Placement (AP), military, and transfer credits from outside the UW/WTCS institutions do not count toward the total. The surcharge will be applied to students in the semester following the one in which they reach the earned credit limit. This policy is not phased in. The surcharge will add 100 percent to the Wisconsin resident tuition routinely charged, and it will be charged for all credits over the credit limit. Warning System

Each semester, excluding J-term and summer session, the Deans' Offices will notify Wisconsin resident students from their College who have reached 130 credits that they are accumulating credits at a rate that might result in a surcharge. This notice will be copied to the student's advisor. The notice will indicate the number of credits from UW System institutions that the student has accumulated toward the 165-credit limit and refer him or her to his or her advisor and Dean's Office if he or she wishes to appeal. In addition to the warning from the Dean's office, a message will appear on the DARS reports of Wisconsin residents when they reach 130 earned credits. This message will warn them that they may be accumulating credits at a rate that might result in a surcharge and direct them to a website for more information. The policy and appeal process will also be placed in the catalog and other pertinent publications and electronic media. Appeal Process

Each student has the right to appeal to the Dean's Office of his or her respective College. Under the implementation guidelines established by the UW-System, institutions are permitted to "make exceptions through an appeals process and grant waivers in cases of extenuating circumstances beyond a student's control." As the Dean's Office of each College is most familiar with the requirements for their respective degree programs and best understands the unique circumstances presented by an individual student, this appeal process will be handled at that level. To assure consistency across Colleges, the Deans are encouraged to collaboratively review the appeals. The Dean's Office will maintain documentation of the student appeal and the decision rendered. To appeal the surcharge on credits beyond 165, the student must submit the "Appeal for Waiver of 165-Credit Surcharge" to the Dean of the College in which his or her advisor resides. The appeal should be submitted at least one semester before the surcharge would be in place. This form is available at the Dean's Office and on line through the Accounts Receivable Office webpage at The Dean's Office will review each case and report their decision to the student, advisor, and the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Provost will then notify the Accounts Receivable Office. Initially, the primary basis for considering appeals will be the following situations: · Students who are juniors or seniors during the 2003-2004 academic year and who have been making steady progress toward program completion. · Students who earned credits several years ago, dropped out, and enrolled in a different program when they returned to school.

  • Students whose change of program was initiated by an academic unit.
    The Provost will maintain a cumulative report of the number of appeals, number of appeals granted/not granted, and specific reasons for the appeal. The Academic Policy and Programs Committee will review this information after one year and then revise the policy and procedures as necessary.

8.2.30 Granting Honors Program Credit in Specific Cases

The contracting component for the National Student Exchange Program with regards to the Honors Program should be accepted when the course is appropriately contracted for following Honors Contract Policies and Procedures. Students receiving AP credit in a course may enroll in a one-credit honors course for AP students to receive one honors credit.

8.2.31 Transcripts

Transcripts will the degree as the first level, the major(s) listed on the next line including any options and/or emphasis and the minor(s) would be listed the major.  The degree date and the degree GPA (GPA at the time the degree is awarded) would also be recorded on the transcript. [FS 11/12-114]

8.2.32 Diploma Variables

The only variable to be printed on the diploma shall be the student's name, the approved UW-System degree title, and Latin honors for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.  The names of majors will not be printed on the diploma. [FS 11/12-122]

8.2.33 Evaluation and Application of Undergraduate Transfer Credits

[FS 12/13-68]

Credit is awarded for college-level course work completed at institutions accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  Transcripts issued by a non U.S. institution that do not have either a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or an articulation agreement with UWRF in place need to be evaluated by a third-party transcript evaluation service.  The purpose of the transcript evaluation service is to provide UWRF with an English translation of courses, credits and grading systems as they appear on the foreign transcripts, as well as to verify the foreign institution's accreditation.  It is the responsibility of the student to request this service and pay any fees associated with the third party evaluation service.

Perspective and enrolled students are required to use one of the approved third-party transcript evaluation services.  A list of approved third-party transcript evaluation services is available from the Registrar.  As of Fall Semester 2012, the list is comprised of the following organizations:

Upon receipt of an official transcript or a third party transcript evaluation, an internal evaluation will be completed.  Courses must be similar in nature, level, and content to a course in our undergraduate curriculum and applicable to one of our academic programs; this includes courses that are technical or vocational in nature.  Continuing education courses, graduate-level courses, and courses that are remedial, or doctrinal in nature are not transferable.  Courses which do not match with specific requirement may be accepted as elective credit, but may be allowed to substitute for specific requirements with approval of the appropriate Academic Department Chair and/or Academic Dean. Faculty Advisors, Department Chairs and Academic Deans work with transfer students to help them best apply their credits toward the UWRF degree.

Once an internal evaluation has been completed, accepted transfer credits and grades will be recorded on the students UWRF record as they appear on the transcript from the host institution or according to the MOU/articulation agreement or as provided by the transcript evaluation service.  Transfer grades will not be used in calculating the cumulative GPA.  However, grades will be calculated in the major GPA if transfer credits are awarded to meet major requirements.  The application of transfer credits and the calculation of cumulative and major GPAs affect eligibility for academic honors and awards. [FS 95/96-24]