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Academic and Grading Policy FAQ

Dean's List
Latin Honors
Academic Resources
Taking Classes P/F
Passing Grade Criteria
Freshman Forgiveness
Repeating Courses
Incomplete Grades
Academic Probation
Leave of Absence and Voluntary Withdrawal
Financial Dismissal
Transcript Request
Certifications or Letters for Third Parties


What are the requirements to make Dean's List?

Students must complete at least 15 credits, of which at least 12 credits must be taken for a letter grade of A-F, and must achieve a grade point average of 3.67 or higher. Students who receive an incomplete grade ("I") during the semester are not eligible to make the Dean's List.


What are the Latin Honors requirements?

Latin Honors are calculated and recorded on the transcript and diploma by the Office of the Registrar upon graduation. To be eligible for Latin Honors, students must complete in residence at least half of the required credit hours needed for a degree at American University (60 of the 120 earned credits) and must achieve the requisite cumulative GPA as indicated:

  • Summa Cum Laude: 3.91 or higher
  • Magna Cum Laude: 3.813.90
  • Cum Laude: 3.673.80


What resources can I use on campus to help boost my GPA?

The Academic Support Center offers the following services for all students:

  • Supplemental Instruction is available every Fall and Spring semester for ECON-100, ECON-200, MATH-211, STAT-202, ACCT-240 and ACCT-241. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is like a group study session that is led by a student who has successfully completed the course and attends lectures once a week to be familiar with the material. SI leaders then facilitate weekly study sessions using the concepts covered in class. Students do not need to register to attend and may attend as little or as often as they like. This service is free. Visit the Academic Support Center's website for the SI schedule.

  • Individual Tutoring is available for nearly every subject. Students can submit a tutor request form found on the Academic Support Center’s website to be matched with an individual tutor. Fees may apply. Writing Lab is available to all students who would like help brain-storming topics, organizing papers, writing a thesis statement, or who have other questions about improving any written assignment. This service is free.

  • Writing Lab is available to all students who would like help brain-storming topics, organizing papers, writing a thesis statement, or who have other questions about improving any written assignment. This service is free.
  • Academic Skills Workshops are available to all students and cover topics such as Time Management, Effective Reading, Note-taking Skills, Test-Preparation, Overcoming Procrastination, Writing, and more. This service is free.

Other resources include:

  • Writing Center is a second resource for students seeking assistance with their writing skills. 

  • Kogod's Center for Business Communications is a resource available to Kogod students who would like to polish their business writing, public speaking, and team presentations. 

  • Math Lab is available for students needing assistance with math through calculus and basic statistics.

  • Office Hours are made available to students by every professor. Students have discovered it is helpful to meet with their instructors to discuss upcoming assignments, review quizzes/exams, inquire about extra credit opportunities, or clarify material presented in class. Contact your professor if your schedule conflicts with their office hours to establish an alternative time to meet.


Which courses can I take P/F? How many courses can I take P/F?

Students may select the pass/fail option for no more than four courses after admission to the university. In any given semester, students may select the pass/fail option in only one course. Only elective courses may be taken pass/fail, and thus students must take for a letter grade courses in a major, in a minor, in General Education, and in courses that are taken to satisfy the College Writing or University Mathematics requirement. Those courses that can only be taken pass/fail are exceptions to the preceding rule and such courses are not included in the aforementioned four course maximum.

A grade of Pass indicates performance of no less than a 2.00 on a conventional grading scale. Pass/Fail grades are not calculated in the GPA. However, if a student earns an F for a class taken P/F, then the F will remain on the transcript, and the student will not receive credit for the course.


How do I know what is considered a passing grade?

Students must earn a C or better in any course taken to fulfill a major or minor requirement. Students who earn below a C (C-, D, or F) for these courses are required to repeat the course. For all business majors, this includes LIT-100, LIT-101, MATH-211, STAT-202, ECON-100, ECON-200, all business core classes and specialization classes. BLC and BAM students have additional required courses. Click here and select the degree overview for your major to view a complete list of courses that students must pass with a C or higher. 

Students must also pass with a C or higher for courses taken to complete any other major or minor requirement. A grade of D or higher is considered passing for any general education courses and free electives that do not fulfill a major or minor requirement.


How does the Freshman Forgiveness rule work?

Degree students, during the first two semesters of full-time undergraduate study, may request Freshman Forgiveness for any two courses that have resulted in a grade of C- or lower. Part-time degree students may request Freshman Forgiveness during the first 30 credit hours of study. Students must repeat such courses within the next calendar year or at the first possible opportunity. Only the second grade is computed in the cumulative average GPA, but both courses remain on the transcript. Students may not request Freshman Forgiveness for a course, if they received a sanction of a grade of F for that course due to a violation of the Academic Integrity Code.

Full-time, part-time, and Washington Mentorship students are eligible to apply for Freshman Forgiveness. Transfer and non-degree students may not claim Freshman Forgiveness. Certain classes may not be repeated for Freshman Forgiveness. Students should check with an academic advisor to determine which courses are not eligible for Freshman Forgiveness.


I received a letter stating that I need to repeat a course. What do I need to know?

If a student receives below a C in a course required for their major and minor, then they must repeat the course.

Students have a maximum of three attempts to pass a course. Withdrawals count as an attempt. Grades for each attempt are computed in the overall cumulative GPA, but only the highest grade and the credit associated with that grade counts toward the major or minor GPA requirements. All courses that need to be repeated MUST be taken at American University.

Before repeating a course, students should submit a "memo of success" to a member of the Kogod Advising Team outlining why they were not successful in the course and what they specifically plan to do differently when repeating the course. Students should include any resources they intend to use when repeating the course (academic support center services, writing center, math/stats lab, office hours, etc.).


How do I go about getting an "Incomplete" for a course?

At their discretion and before the end of the semester, professors may give an Incomplete status for a grade when extenuating circumstances prevent a student, who is otherwise passing a course, from completing it during the semester. Students must have completed at least 50% of their course work and must currently be passing the class in order to be eligible for an Incomplete. Students on academic probation may not receive an Incomplete.

Instructors must identify in writing the conditions for satisfying the Incomplete. Those conditions must include what work needs to be completed, when the work must be completed, and what the course grade will be if students fail to complete that work. Academic regulations stipulate that the work be completed no later than the last day of the following semester, however the instructor can specify a due date that is sooner. Instructors will submit the grade of “I” and the aforementioned conditions to the Office of the Registrar when submitting all other final grades for the course. If students do not meet the conditions, the Office of the Registrar will assign the default grade automatically.

Incomplete courses may not be retroactively dropped. An Incomplete may not stand as a permanent grade and must be resolved before a degree can be awarded.


What is academic probation?

If a student's cumulative GPA drops below a 2.0, then they will receive a letter indicating that they will be placed on academic probation. The letter will specify the terms of their probation which must be met by the end of the semester. If a student does not meet the required probation terms, then they will be subject to academic dismissal.


How does a Temporary Leave or Voluntary Withdrawal work?

Students are allowed to take a temporary leave for up to one year if they are in good standing and intend to return to AU. When on a temporary leave, the student remains an admitted student but may not take classes at any other institution while on leave. Students on temporary leave do not need to reapply to Admissions upon return, but will need to obtain the necessary registration clearance. Students considering a temporary leave should meet with a member of the Kogod Advising Team before the add/drop deadline to avoid financial/academic penalties. In addition, students should meet with a member of the Kogod Advising Team if they need to take a military leave. For more information about temporary leave, refer to the academic regulations.

Students who no longer wish to take courses at AU must complete a Voluntary Withdrawal form before they leave campus and must reapply to the University for admission as a transfer student if they later decide to return to AU. Students who need to withdraw from AU should meet with an academic advisor to complete the process.


I received notification that I was financially dismissed. What should I do?

You must either resolve your financial hold (pay your bill or establish payment options through AU Central) or meet with an academic advisor to withdraw from your classes. Your courses are not automatically dropped if you are financially dismissed. If you do not withdraw from your classes and have not paid your bill, then you will fail your courses. 


How do I request my transcript?

You can request an official transcript via the portal. Your request is processed by AU Central.


How may I get a certification or letter for my embassy, employer, etc.?

A certification is an official document that verifies the student's academic standing, attendance dates, degrees awarded, and anticipated graduation date.

You may need an enrollment certification to verify your academic standing for another institution, loan deferments, DC parking permits, employment, or insurance companies.

Requests for these types of letters are processed through AU Central. Please visit the AU Central website for more details.