page banner

COSAM » Departments » Student Services » Academic Policies

Important Academic Policies 


All of Auburn’s academic policies can be found online in the Auburn Bulletin. We strongly encourage you to read and understand the official policies. Below are highlights and important considerations about commonly used academic policies. When making decisions based on academic policies, please consult with an advisor in the Dean’s Office. Other students may misunderstand the policy. Check with us if you have questions about what the policy means for your individual situation.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Adding Courses:
  • You may add courses on AU Access through the fifth (5) day of class. 
  • After the first day, you must contact the department offering the class. Only the departments can add students to classes after the first day.  Advisors cannot add students to courses.
  • Departments set their own deadlines for adding classes.  Some do not add after the first day.  If you want to add, you must do it quickly.  No classes may be added after the fifteenth day.
Dropping Courses:
  • During Fall and Spring semesters you may drop a course until the 15th class day with no record on your transcript. For the Summer semster you may drop a course until the 5th class day.
  • From the 16th (or 6th during summer) day until the final drop date, you may drop for any reason and a W will be on your transcript.  A W means you were in the course, but withdrew.  Although you do not want a pattern of Ws on your transcript, one or two over the course of your college career should not be a concern.
  • Although dropping before the drop date has no academic penalties, you will not get any money back and if you drop below 12 hours it could affect your financial aid, scholarships, or insurance.  Please check with your insurance company and Auburn’s Financial Aid Office before dropping below 12 hours.
  • Before the drop date, be realistic about your chances of obtaining the grade you want in a course.  Dropping may be the best idea. 
  • Also, be certain to check your schedule and be sure that you are registered only for courses you plan to finish.  You are responsible for knowing your enrollment status at all times.
  • After the final drop date, you may not drop a course except in the most extenuating circumstances, with documentation and permission from the Dean's Office.  Please do not petition for a drop to the Dean's Office unless you have experienced a significant illness, illness or a death in the immediate family, or something similar.
  • You may NOT drop after the drop date because you are failing or do not need the course.  Most students seeking to drop classes late only want to do so to avoid getting a poor grade. This will not be approved.
  • Even if your drop request is approved, if you are failing the course at the time of the drop, your professor may assign a WF, which will appear on your transcript and will calculate in your GPA as an F.
[ Back to top ]

Course Loads & Overloads

A full time course load is 12 hours in fall, spring, and summer semesters.

The maximum load for students in undergraduate curricula is 18 hours during the fall and spring semesters.  For summer terms, maximum load are 7 semester hours during the 5-week sessions, and 14 hours during the 10-week session or any combination of summer sessions. 

The maximum load may be exceeded under the following circumstances: 

  • With Dean’s approval, you may schedule overloads not to exceed 20 hours during the semester, 15 hours during the 10-week summer terms, or 9 hours during a 5-week session. 

  • To be eligible, you must have passed all work attempted and earned a GPA of 2.5 or higher during their last residence semester at Auburn University in which they carried 15 or more hours (10 or more in their last summer). 

Students who desire to take an overload must come by the Dean's Office to request the overload.

[ Back to top ]

Resigning from All Courses

If you wish to withdraw from all your courses in any semester before the final drop date, you can drop all your classes through AU Access.  After that date, you must come to the Dean’s Office and fill out a resignation form.  You may resign at any point during the semester.  

By resigning from classes for a semester, you are not resigning from the University.  If you plan to take a semester off, and then attend courses again, you will register like normal for your next term at Auburn.  If you are away from Auburn for more than a year, contact the Admissions Office to have your record prepared for your next registration.

Academic Consequences of Resigning

If you resign before the final drop date, there are no academic penalties.  However, special rules apply if you resign after that.

  • Your professors must report letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) as of the day you resign.  They may not report a W or WF.
  • If you are failing more than 50% of your coursework when you resign, those grades will be posted on your transcripts as WFs and factor into your overall GPA. 
  • If you are on academic warning and resign after the final drop date, you will be suspended if the grades reported would have resulted in your suspension.

Financial Consequences of Resigning

  • If  you have paid fees and resign before the first day of class, all fees will be refunded.
  • During Fall and Spring semesters, if resignation occurs during the first 15 days of classes, all fees, except the sum of $100.00 plus any late fees, will be refunded.
  • During the Summer semester, if resignation occurs during the first 5 days of classes, all fees, except the sum of $100.00 plus any late fees, will be refunded.
  • No refunds will be made for resignations that occur after 15 days (or 5 days during Summer semester) of class unless the withdrawal is caused by illness (physician's statement required) or call into military service (copy of activation orders required).   Any refund is prorated.  Depending on the date of resignation, you may not receive any refund.
  • No fees are refunded if you are suspended for disciplinary reasons.
  • If you have scholarships, grants, or loans, check with the Office of Student Financial Aid prior to resigning to see what effect resigning will have on your aid status. 

In an Emergency

If you must resign due to a medical or family emergency, the Dean’s Office can help you (or your family) with the paperwork required to resign.  Please contact our office, 334-844-4269, as soon as possible to begin the process.

[ Back to top ]


The Grade Adjustment Policy (GAP) can be a great help to students in serious academic trouble. However, much misinformation about the GAP is circulated around campus. Here are the basics on the policy and our recommendations about how to use it.

  • You may use the GAP a maximum of 3 times on grades of D, F, FA, or U
  • The grades come out of the calculation of your overall GPA.
  • The original grades still appear on your transcript.
  • If the course is required for your graduation, you must repeat it at Auburn.  If the course is not required, you do not have to repeat it.

Although there are advantages to using the GAP in the right circumstances, for the average Auburn student, the GAP is of little use.

  • Adjusted GPAs are not honored by professional or graduate schools.  If you apply to those schools, you must report all grades, including gapped grades, into your overall GPA.
  • Honor societies, honors graduation, COSAM scholarships, and certain programs or majors (outside of COSAM), do not consider gapped grades. Your complete body of work at Auburn determines eligibility for those programs. 

COSAM recommends that you use a GAP when:

  • It will help you stay off suspension.
  • It will help you retain your financial aid.
  • It will allow you to transfer into another major or take certain classes at Auburn.

We DO NOT recommend using a GAP when:

  • You have made a D and have not yet repeated the course.  In general, you have credit for the course which you will lose when you gap.
  • You want to join or be an officer in an organization that has a minimum GPA.  Those groups have minimum GPAs in order to encourage you to get your academic life under control before committing yourself to time away from your studies.  Your academic career should be your number one priority.

Finally, although the GAP will provide a second chance at staying off suspension, it is no substitute for good academic habits. Students who are on academic warning need to review their study habits, test taking skills, choice of major, and other factors that impact academic performance. Auburn has lots of help for students in trouble. Contact the COSAM advising office (334-844-4269) or Academic Support (334-844-5972) for more information.

[ Back to top ]

Academic Warning and Suspension


Academic Warning

You are on academic warning anytime your overall GPA is less than a 2.0.  This means you are in danger of being suspended after the next term.  You need to take steps now to improve your academic habits.  Your advisor and the Academic Support Office can help.  Students on Academic Warning often make mistakes that lead to suspension.  See a list of Common Errors and our recommendations about how to avoid them.



If you are on academic warning, you will be suspended at the end of any semester that you meet both of the following conditions:

  • Your GPA for the term is less than a 2.2.
  • Your overall GPA is less than the minimum for your classification

Minimum GPA requirements are based on how you are classified at the end of the semester.  

  • Freshman must have a 1.5 overall GPA
  • Sophomores must have a 1.8
  • Juniors must have a 1.9
  • Seniors must have a 1.97

First suspension is for 1 semester, 2nd suspension is for 2 semesters, and 3rd suspension is expulsion from Auburn.  Summers do not count as semesters for suspension.  Students may appeal to come back from suspension early, but must meet some requirements in order to do so.  If you wish to appeal, meet with your academic advisor as soon as possible.

You will not receive credit at Auburn for courses you take at other schools while you are on suspension from Auburn. 

You may not resign from school to avoid suspension.  If you resign (drop all your courses) after mid-semester and are currently on academic warning, you may still be suspended.  Please see your academic advisor to review your individual situation and the potential consequences of resigning.

[ Back to top ]

Taking Courses at Another Institution



You may take courses at another institution over the summer or any other single term, provided you are not suspended from Auburn.  In order to receive credit for the courses, you must complete a Transient Student Form.  Please see this website for specific instructions about the form. 

Other important considerations:

  • Your grades from other schools will not affect your Auburn GPA for academic action such as honors, warning, or suspension.
  • However, your grades from other schools WILL be reported to professional schools, graduate schools, employers, or anyone else who sees your transcripts.  Your grades are always important.
  • You may not take courses at another school that you have gapped at Auburn.
  • Consider carefully where you plan to take particularly important courses, such as those that are important to professional school admissions tests, sequences you will finish at Auburn, and foundational courses.  Make sure you are preparing yourself for what’s to come, not just “getting it out of the way”.

Also see further Transient information in Registration & Course Planning

[ Back to top ]

Transfer Credit

If you are transferring from a two-year school, the maximum number of hours allowed is ½ the total required for your degree or 64, whichever is fewer.  For most degrees in COSAM, 61 hours is half the degree and, therefore, the maximum number of hours that transfer.  You should be careful in planning your transfer to Auburn before you have reached the maximum allowable hours.

Academic advisors, along with the appropriate department, are responsible for awarding transfer credit.  If you have questions about how your credit has been applied to your degree, please contact your academic advisor.

[ Back to top ]

Repeating Courses


  • You may repeat a course in which you earned a D or F, one time, without permission. To repeat a class for two or more times, you must have permission from your Dean's Office.
  • You do not have to use a GAP in order to repeat the course.
  • If you do not gap your first grade, both grades will be used in calculating your overall GPA. 
  • You may repeat a course in which you earned a C or better only if you have the Dean’s written permission OR the course is designated as repeatable.  See your academic advisor if you wish to ask for Dean’s permission.
  • You may only receive degree credit for any class one time, unless it is designated as repeatable in the Auburn Bulletin.
[ Back to top ]

Changing Majors 

If you want to change your major to another major within COSAM, you may do so at any time. You must come by the Dean's Office to fill out a form, and we will process the change and assign a new advisor, if appropriate.

If you wish to change your major to one in another school or college at Auburn, please contact that school or college to determine their procedures.  Most schools and college have their requirements on their websites.  You may have to apply to that school or college and be accepted before you are eligible to declare that major.  Once you are eligible to make the change, you may do so by coming to the COSAM Dean's Office, picking up your academic records, and walking them to your new college or school. 

[ Back to top ]


Final passing grades are A, superior; B, good; C, acceptable; D passing; and S, satisfactory. Final failing grades are F, failure; FA, failure for excessive absences; U, unsatisfactory; and WF, officially dropped with permission of the student's dean but failing at the time of withdrawal. 

An IN may be assigned at the discretion of the instructor if you are passing but have not completed all assigned work or taken all scheduled examinations.

  • For undergraduates, an IN is calculated as an F in the GPA until it is cleared.
  • It is the YOUR responsibility to meet with the instructor as soon as possible to make arrangements for clearing the IN.
  • If you miss a final exam, you must provide appropriate documentation for your university excused absence in order to be allowed to make it up.
  • Incompletes not cleared within 6 months of the date the IN was awarded, whether you are in school or not, will become an F on your permanent record. 

If you feel that grades have been inappropriately assigned, or if any other final grades are in error, you should discuss the issue with the appropriate instructor. If a change is warranted, the instructor should obtain an appropriate Grade Change Form from his/her Dean's office. 

[ Back to top ]

S-U Grading 

Grades of S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory) may be assigned only to courses approved to be graded S-U, and courses elected under the S-U option.  The S-U option is perfect for students who may want to take a course as an elective, but don’t want the additional grade pressure in that course.

To take a course using the S-U option:

  • You must be a junior or senior with a minimum overall grade average of 2.5 on at least 20 hours of credit earned at Auburn
  • You may not take courses required in the Core Curriculum or required courses as defined by your curriculum.
  • You may earn a total of 12 credits at the rate of one course per term. 
  • You will receive elective credit for the courses.
  • You are not permitted to change from S-U grading to conventional grading or vice versa after the 15th class day. 
  • You must come by the Dean's office complete an appropriate form before you take the course. 
[ Back to top ]

Grade Point Average

Your GPA is a critical part of your academic career, both at Auburn and beyond.  There are several different GPAs that impact you.  Here are a few and how they are calculated.

  • Overall Auburn GPA:  This includes all work attempted at Auburn (with the exception of gapped courses) and is used when determining academic warning, suspension, entrance into certain courses or majors, and graduation.  You must have a 2.0 overall Auburn GPA to graduate.  Gapped grades are included in your GPA to transfer into some majors and when calculating honors graduation.
  • Major GPA: This includes your best attempt on all courses designated as part of your major.  Transfer courses do not count toward a major GPA.  Major courses are listed in bold print in the Bulletin. You must have a 2.0 major GPA to graduate. Major GPA worksheets are online [here].
  • Professional School Overall GPA:  To calculate your professional school GPA, you should include all college level work, at Auburn or another school, plus any courses you gap at Auburn.  Professional schools do not honor the gap and require you to include those grades in your GPA for their purposes.
  • Professional School Science GPA:  Your professional school science GPA is calculated based on any grade (including gapped grades) you earned in courses designated as biology, chemistry, physics, or math.

GPA Calculator - This calculator will help you determine what grades it will take to reach your goal GPA.

To calculate a grade point average, multiply the credit hours times the grade points to determine the quality points for each class. (A grade of A is worth four grade points, a B is three, C is two, D is one, and F is zero.) Then divide the total quality points by the total credit hours to determine the grade point average.

Sample Grade Report


Credit Hours


Quality Points

Biology 1020


A (4 points)

16 (4 x 4 = 16)

English 1100


B (3 points)

9 (3 x 3 = 9)

History 1010


C (2 points)

6 (3 x 2 = 6)

Math 1610


C (2 points)

8 (4 x 2 = 8)

U1000: AU Experience


B (3 Points)

3 (1 x 3 = 3)


Total 15 Hours

42 Quality Points
(16 + 9 + 6 + 8 + 3 = 42)

42 Quality Points divided by 15 Credit Hours = 2.8 GPA

[ Back to top ]

Dean's List 

Students within a given semester who achieve a 3.75 GPA while enrolled for at least 12 or more graded credit hours are placed on the COSAM Dean's List.  Students are sent a personal letter and certificate by the Dean's Office, and this honor is also noted in the student's permanent record. 

[ Back to top ]

Student Academic Grievance Procedures 

Auburn University students have access to a procedure for redress of grievances resulting from the actions of faculty or administrators.  Students who desire to file a grievance should review their options described under the Student Academic Grievance Policy.

[ Back to top ]

Auburn Bulletin

The Auburn Bulletin is an invaluable resource and the official source of academic information, policy, and requirements for Auburn University.  The complete AU Bulletin is online.

[ Back to top ]

Last Updated: 06/10/2020