Academic Policies

I. Academic Integrity
II. Academic Actions: Probation
III. Academic Ineligibility
IV. Grade Appeals
V. Academic Policies and Procedures for Visiting Students

Academic Integrity

See the description of the Georgetown University Honor System in the Academic Regulations section of this Bulletin.

Academic Actions: Probation

If a student fails one course during a semester, the student is automatically placed on probation and remains in that status until the terms of the probation are satisfied. In addition, a student will be placed on probation if his/her cumulative quality index is below 2.0 at the end of any academic semester. A student remains on academic probation until a minimal cumulative 2.0 GPA is achieved.

  • Academic actions: Academic dismissal (degree candidacy terminated)
  • Academic dismissal is determined on one of two grounds: academic integrity or academic ineligibility.

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Academic Ineligibility

For students in the BALS Program, earning one “F” in a semester while on probation, two “F’s” in any one semester regardless of previous record, or at any time an accumulation of three “F’s” results in academic dismissal.

Dismissal Appeal

Students are dismissed for failure to meet the academic and degree requirements as outlined under the academic standing guidelines.  Students who have been terminated or dismissed will be notified in writing of the change in their status by the Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance. If a student is eligible to appeal the academic action, the dismissal letter will note this. 

The appeal process is designed to deal with cases of such a complex nature that an exception may be warranted.  However, the appeal process is not allowed for:

  • Registration errors on the part of students who did not adjust and verify their schedules during the regular add/drop and withdrawal periods.

  • Students who took on too much (personally, academically, professionally) and failed to adjust their schedules accordingly.

  • Students who have been terminated or dismissed because their cumulative GPA is at such a low level that raising it to the minimum GPA required to be eligible for graduation within the program credit limit is mathematically impossible.

A return to study should not be expected. The SCS Academic Council reviews all dismissal appeals.  All decisions made by the Council are final and without right of further appeal.   If it is determined that the student’s dismissal is based on failure to satisfy standard requirements for the degree without exceptional, complicating circumstances, the student’s request for an appeal will be denied.  If it is determined that such exceptional circumstances do exist, the Academic Council will consider whether it is appropriate to recommend a return to study based on the student’s academic record, appeal materials submitted, and feedback from the academic program (as appropriate). 

Guidelines for Submitting an Appeal
  • Students must submit a written essay and any supporting documentation that demonstrates the exceptional, complicating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the minimum academic requirements of the program and degree.

  • Materials must be submitted 90 days from the date the dismissal letter was issued. For example, students dismissed on January 9 would have 90 days to submit an appeal, which would be April 9. Appeals will not be accepted once the deadline has passed.

  • Students are responsible for reviewing the policy and determining if an appeal is appropriate.  If so, they must determine what to include in their essay and if documentation is needed to support their case. The Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance and the academic program do not advise students regarding documentation guidelines. 

Students must submit their appeal materials to the Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance (scsoaac@georgetown.edu).  Academic Affairs convenes the SCS Academic Council to review all such appeals.  Once the Council has made a decision, Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing of the outcome.  All decisions made by the Council are final and without right of further appeal.

The SCS Academic Council will consider whether a return to study is appropriate based on, appeal materials submitted, student’s academic record, and feedback from the academic program (as appropriate).

In the rare instances in which a student is permitted to return, they will return on probationary status, may be held to higher academic standards than what is required for the program or degree, may be required to earn specific grades in certain courses, and/or be required to repeat or take additional courses.  The original dismissal notice remains on the official transcript.  A second dismissal is final and without right of further appeal. 

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Grade Appeal

Grounds for a Grade Appeal

Our faculty members have been chosen due to their unique experience and expertise in their respective fields.  As such, SCS strongly believes in the authority of its faculty to determine the academic merit and grades of their students.  While students may request a review of their final course grade, they should also keep in mind that the faculty member is considered the academic and professional expert in determining their grade.  A mathematical error, error in grading procedures, or inequity in the application of policies stated in the course syllabus are grounds for an appeal.  A disagreement with the professional judgment of the instructor should not be the basis of an appeal or any resulting change of grade. 

No additional or revised coursework can or will be accepted to improve a student’s course grade after that course has been completed.  Assignments that were graded real-time during the semester cannot be re-evaluated after the course has been completed.  For example, if students were evaluated on in-class presentation skills or received a grade for in-class participation, the points/grades for those assignments cannot be altered at a later time as they were assessed based on the student’s real-time performance in the course.  In the case of all grade appeal reviews any re-evaluation of the grade could lead to the grade being raised, sustained, or lowered.

The grade appeal procedure is not set up to address allegations of discrimination.  However, SCS takes all such allegations very seriously and advises that students who believe they have been discriminated against make a formal complaint through the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (202-687-4798; ideaa@georgetown.edu).  The Grievance Procedure and Discrimination Complaint Form can be found at ideaa.georgetown.edu/policies/.

Please note: the grade appeal process only appeals to final grades.  Students with questions about grades received on individual assignments while a course is in-progress should speak directly with their instructor.

Grade Appeal Process

In the event that a student would like to appeal the final grade received for a course, the following steps are to be taken:

A.    Students should first contact the instructor via email specifying the grounds upon which they are appealing their grade. This process must begin no later than 30 days after the beginning of the semester following that semester in which the contested grade was received. In their email to the instructor, students should include copies of the course syllabus and all graded assignments, so the instructor can review all aspects of the grade and how it was calculated and recorded. The syllabus should serve as a guideline with the understanding that instructors can make amendments to their syllabi during the semester (adding or deleting assignments, for example, or changing a percentage allocation for an assignment under unusual circumstances) if needed as long as all students in the course are held to the same academic standards. Once the instructor has reviewed the appeal, students will be provided with a written explanation of the grade breakdown, how the grade was calculated, and the instructor’s decision to sustain or adjust the grade.  If the instructor recommends a grade change, he or she will submit the recommendation to program leadership for review.  If approved by program leadership, the recommendation will be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance to ensure the grade change is consistent with University and School policies.  Once the recommendation has been reviewed, the Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance will confirm the outcome with program leadership. The academic program will follow up in writing to the student with the final decision. Grade changes are not considered final until the Office of Academic Affairs has completed a policy review.

B.    If, after receiving the instructor’s decision, the student still believes the final grade was incorrectly assigned, s/he may then appeal in writing to the leadership of the program offering the course. The student must supply a copy of the syllabus, relevant emails, and copies of all graded assignments.  This process must begin no later than 60 days after the beginning of the semester following the semester in which the contested grade was received.  The course instructor may also be contacted by the program for additional information.  Upon completion of this review, the program may decide (1) there is no basis for the appeal and the original grade will be upheld or (2) the appeal warrants further review by a faculty committee comprised of three faculty members within that program.  If a committee is called, the program leadership will name a chair and all members will complete a blind review of the information and assignments and then make a formal, written recommendation.  In re-evaluating the student’s work, the committee can decide to raise, sustain, or lower the grade.  In either case, the program leadership will not judge the academic merit of the assignments; rather, they will review the situation solely to ensure that the grading criteria were followed and applied to all students.  After investigating the matter fully, the program will notify the student in writing of the decision. If the appeal results in a grade change, a recommendation will be made to the Office of Academic Affairs & Compliance. The Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance will review the recommendation to ensure the grade change is consistent with University and School policies.  Once the recommendation has been reviewed, the Office of Academic Affairs and Compliance will confirm the outcome with program leadership, who will follow up in writing with the student with the final decision.  Grade changes are not considered final until the Academic Affairs has completed a policy review.

C.    If, after completing the appeal process with the instructor and the program offering the course, the student would like to appeal further based solely upon procedural grounds, s/he may then submit a formal request in writing to the Office of Academic Affairs & Compliance (scsoaac@georgetown.edu) for final review. Students are responsible for providing all written documentation he/she received throughout the appeal process. The academic program and course instructor may also be contacted for additional information.  This process must begin no later than 90 days after the beginning of the semester following the semester in which the contested grade was received. This final level of appeal reviews the administrative handling of the appeal only, to ensure the grade appeal policy and process was followed as outlined in the handbook. No evaluation of the academic merit of the work (such as re-grading a paper or test) will be conducted.  Academic Affairs will confirm the outcome of the procedural review to students in writing. The decision at this level of appeal is final and not open to further appeal.  

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ACADEMIC POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR VISITING STUDENTS

All of the credit and degree programs within the School of Continuing Studies are application-based. Acceptance to one undergraduate program within the School does not guarantee or imply acceptance into another undergraduate program within the School or University. Specific student handbooks and policies have been developed to reflect the unique undergraduate populations (such as part-time, non-traditional, or visiting students) served within the School of Continuing Studies. Students in these programs should refer to their program handbook for policies that govern their study (http://scs.georgetown.edu/academic-affairs/student-handbooks).

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