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2016-2017 Catalog

Attendance and Standing

Lafayette College uses a course unit system in computing progress toward the degree. This system is intended to emphasize mastery of subject matter, in contrast to the semester credit hour system, which measures achievement in terms of class time. A unit of instruction includes a combination of lecture, discussion, recitation, group and individual projects, and studio/laboratory work. Lafayette courses vary in the number of scheduled meeting hours. Courses scheduled for three hours of classroom/other instruction per week also include additional instructional activity, e.g. discussion sessions, attendance at lectures and performances, service learning, final examinations, fieldwork, etc.

The normal course of study in a four-year program requires completion of 32 courses over eight semesters with at least four courses per semester. Each course unit is equivalent to four semester credit hours. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering program requires completion of a total of 36 or 38 courses with at least five courses per semester after the first year.

Lafayette will consider a student's progress toward a degree acceptable if he or she has earned at least the following number of course credits by the end of the second semester:

Minimum A.B ./ B.S. Science

First Semester Second Semester
First-Year Student 3 6
Sophomore 10 14
Junior 18 22
Senior 27 32

Normal A.B ./ B.S. Science

First Semester Second Semester
First-Year Student 4 8
Sophomore 12 16
Junior 20 24
Senior 28 32

Minimum B.S. Engineering

First Semester Second Semester
First-Year Student 3 6
Sophomore 11 16
Junior 21 26
Senior 32 38

Normal B.S. Engineering

First Semester Second Semester
First-Year Student 4 8
Sophomore 13 18
Junior 23 28
Senior 33 38

Three courses are considered the minimum load for full-time standing.


Lafayette uses a five-letter plus/ minus grading scale to evaluate and report a student's academic performance. The course letter grade of "A" indicates excellent, "B" indicates good, "C" indicates satisfactory, "D" indicates passing, and "F" indicates failure. Grades of C-, D+, D, and D-, though passing, fall below the minimum grade point average required for graduation. The following system of grade points and letter codes is used in computing grade point averages. All courses considered in determining the grade point average are listed in the student's permanent record. Starting with the class of 2001, a grade point average of at least 2.00 both overall and in the major is required for graduation.

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0
INC INCOMPLETE: course requirements not completed; no credit (temporary grade, given only in extenuating circumstances)
P PASS: course credit received but no effect on average
WD WITHDRAWAL: with permission of the Academic Progress Committee; no credit and no effect on average
AU AUDIT: no credit and no effect on average
NG NO GRADE (temporary)
NF NO GRADE (permanent): used in cases of academic dishonesty; carries value of the grade of "F" (zero quality points) in computing semester and cumulative averages
CR CREDIT: course credit received
CRX CREDIT course credit may not be used toward minimum degree requirement
NC NO CREDIT: no course credit received


According to faculty policy, an Incomplete is given only when the student has been unable to complete the work of the course for some reason outside the student's control and has been completing passing work in the course up to that point. When an Incomplete is given, the faculty member should indicate to the Dean of Advising or the Registrar the reason for the Incomplete and give an assessment of the student's work to date.

The student must make arrangements with the instructor as to the timing and manner by which the Incomplete is to be satisfied.

Normally, an Incomplete is to be made up by the end of the second week of the following semester. The instructor may specify a longer period of time after consultation with the Dean of Advising, but all work must be completed and a grade assigned no later than the first day of classes of the second semester of attendance subsequent to the Incomplete. If the instructor specifies a period longer than two weeks, the reason for the longer period and the date established for the completion of the outstanding coursework must be stated in writing to the student with copies to the student's adviser, to the Dean of Advising, and to the Registrar.

Unless the coursework is completed and a grade assigned by the instructor by the end of the specified period, the Registrar will automatically replace the Incomplete with an F.

A student with more than two pending Incompletes will not be permitted to begin a new academic year.

Midterm Grades

Grades of "D" and "F" are normally reported to the Academic Progress Committee, the adviser, and student at midterm to identify and help students encountering academic difficulty. They are not recorded on the student transcript. Students receiving midterm grades should discuss approaches for improvement with their instructors, their advisers, or a dean in the Office of the Dean of Advising.

Academic Probation

Students who are not making satisfactory progress may be placed on academic probation by the Academic Progress Committee. Factors such as term averages, cumulative averages, and graduation progress are among the criteria used in evaluating students, but each case is considered individually. The Committee will typically review all first-year students with a 1.80 GPA or less and all other students with under a 2.00 GPA. When a student is placed on probation, the probationary period is in effect from the date of the action until the end of the following semester.

Students on academic probation may not take more than two unexcused cuts in any course. A student on academic probation may be required to withdraw unless during the next semester that student shows improvement sufficient to demonstrate clear promise of eventual graduation, although a period of probation need not precede action requiring a student to withdraw. First-year students on academic probation may not hold office in student or social organizations, represent Lafayette College in any official capacity, or participate in fraternity or sorority pledging. A student who has not completed six courses will be regarded as a first-year student for purposes of probation.

Required Withdrawal for Academic Reasons

A student may be required to withdraw from the College at the end of any semester because of unsatisfactory progress. A student who is required to withdraw for academic reasons is not eligible for reinstatement for at least one semester. Reinstatement is not automatic; rather, it is dependent upon the student's demonstration of clear promise to eventually graduate. Reinstatement to the College may depend upon the space available in the class.

College-funded aid will be reinstated once the student has been readmitted and has submitted the required documents for financial aid consideration by the specified deadlines. Eligibility will be determined based on demonstration of need, filing by the deadlines and availability of funds. Students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for eligibility for federal/state aid. For complete information regarding academic progress and federal aid, got to

Disciplinary Suspension

When an individual fails to abide by academic and/or social regulations, or acts in a manner which brings discredit upon the College, the student is subject to disciplinary action which may involve probation or suspension from the College.

Leave of Absence

A student in good standing may apply to the Dean of Advising for a leave of absence effective immediately or at the end of a semester. Requests to return after a leave of absence should be directed to the Dean of Advising, who may require an interview prior to reinstatement. Reinstatement to the College may depend upon the space available in the class.

Transferring or Resignation from the College

Students who wish to resign from the College or transfer to another college should arrange to do so through the Office of the Dean of Advising. (See College policy on refunds.) Students who fail to report to the College and complete registration within two weeks after the beginning of any term will be considered as resigned and must request consideration for reinstatement from the Dean of Advising before returning to the College.


The Registrar's Office issues official transcripts, through our secure online web page in Banner Self Service or via Transcripts on Demand. The Registrar's Office also releases unofficial copies of academic transcripts to major advisers and college officers who are concerned with the student's academic standing. The transcript may be examined by the student at any time in the Registrar's Office.

Academic Honesty

By College policy, the Dean of Advising and the Academic Progress Committee share responsibility for hearing cases of alleged academic dishonesty and for determining penalties when indicated. Individual faculty members are not empowered to take disciplinary action in the absence of due process as summarized in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities of Students, which appears in the Student Handbook.