Guidance on Academic Policies: Arts and Sciences BA/BS

We've listed some of our most commonly referenced policies below. For a complete list of academic policies, please consult the The Bulletin.

Semester Credit Limits

Arts & Sciences students in the BA/BS program may enroll in a maximum of 18 credits each semester.  Arts & Sciences students in the combined BA or BS and BFA program may enroll in a maximum of 21 credits each semester.  To be considered for additional credits, students need to petition their Advising Dean beginning on the first day of the semester. Such permission is never granted to any First Year student in the BA/BS program.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time

Full-time status at Tufts is defined as attempting a minimum of 12 credits in a semester.

After completing Tufts’ residency requirement of eight semesters of full-time study, you may choose to graduate or enroll part-time in either your final or penultimate semester. To enroll part-time, you must consult your Major Advisor, then complete the part-time status form during your final full-time semester at Tufts. Part-time tuition adjustments are not made once the semester begins. Students with questions about whether they have fulfilled the residence requirement should consult their Advising Dean. Note that students who enrolled full-time at Tufts during the fall 2020 semester have the residency requirement partially waived.

If you choose to attend part-time in a semester, you will be charged tuition per credit based on the number of registered credits listed in SIS at any time through the semester. Students attending part-time will follow the same refund process as those withdrawing from Tufts. Students enrolled in the student health insurance who plan to enroll part-time should contact to confirm student health insurance eligibility and reimbursement of the health insurance premium. Please contact Tufts Bursar with questions about the part-time tuition rate.

The Pass/Fail Option

The purpose of the pass/fail option is to encourage students to extend their academic interests. Your course instructors do not know if you have elected to take a course pass/fail. You are graded as usual throughout the course and will get a final grade of pass if you achieve a D- or higher.

Withdrawing from a Course

If you choose to drop a course after the official drop deadline each semester, the course will remain on the your record. Instead of receiving a grade, the class will be marked with a “W” for “withdraw.” This simply means the course is part of your permanent record, and is in no way a measure of your performance in the course. There are lots of reasons students choose to withdraw from courses, and your advisor or advising dean can offer the best advice about what will work for you.

Incomplete Grade

An “incomplete” indicates that the instructor has allowed you more time to complete the requirements for the course. Incompletes may only be awarded if you have done substantial work in the course and the instructor believes there are valid reasons for granting an incomplete. Generally, incompletes are not requested prior to the 10th week of the semester and if a student has completed less than 75% of the course work up to that point. To receive an incomplete, speak with your professor to discuss the details of an incomplete and complete the necessary paperwork.

If you are granted an incomplete, you will be required to complete all coursework within the first six weeks of the next semester, or by the date the chosen by the instructor. It is strongly recommended that incompletes are resolved before the start of the next semester. Please note that academic standing is reviewed in January for the Fall semester and June for the Spring semester. Incompletes are not considered earned credits and incompletes that are unresolved when academic standing is reviewed may negatively impact a student's academic standing.

Undergraduate students who take a personal or medical leave of absence or who have been required to withdraw from the University must complete all outstanding written work and exams to resolve all grades of incomplete prior to being able to return for subsequent semesters. Make-up exams formally scheduled during the first week of classes are an exception. Students are encouraged to work with their professors and Advising Dean to set appropriate deadlines, facilitate completion, and plan for make-up exams to satisfy this criterion.

If the deadline to submit the outstanding work has passed, and work is still accepted, students may continue to make progress on completing the work, but may not resume their studies at Tufts until incompletes are resolved. If work is no longer accepted, students will receive the grade earned in the course or, when appropriate, a permanent incomplete.

Grade Changes

Submitted grades are final and not subject to negotiation. Exceptions should be limited to correcting clerical and calculation errors. If you believe there is an error, you should discuss your grade with the course instructor. Following such conversation, if you believe the error or deviation remains, you may make an appeal to the department chair or program director, and if necessary, subsequently to the dean of academic advising and undergraduate studies. Grade change requests must be made no later than six weeks into the following semester.

Repeating a Course

You may choose to take a course for a second time at Tufts, but policy limits how you can receive credit. It is important to consider why you would choose to repeat a course and remember that grades earned at Tufts are never removed from your record.

Some courses at Tufts may be repeated for full credit:

Physical EducationYou can receive up to 8 credits; if you take courses beyond this limit, they will be recorded as “no credit.”
Music (Performance)Check with department for details.
Dance (Performance)Check with department for details.
Studio ArtCheck with department for details.
Creative Writing (Intro)You may take twice in each genre.
Creative Writing (Intermediate)Only fiction and poetry may be taken twice for credit.

If you’re interested in taking a course again because you’re unhappy with the grade you earned the first time, please keep in mind that Tufts’ duplicate policy prevents students from earning full credit more than once for a course. The first grade you earn determines the way credit is received for the repeat course:

First Grade EarnedSecond Grade Earned
Pre-matriculation creditFull Tufts credit; pre-matriculation credit is removed from transcript.
Grade of C- or betterSecond grade will not be counted for degree or cumulative average.
Grade of D+, D or D-Both grades appear on transcript. The credit value of the original course will be removed, but the full impact of the grades of both the original and repeated courses will be calculated into the cumulative grade point average. The repeated course, if passed, will receive the full credit value.
Grade of F Both grades appear on transcript.

This can be a big decision, so make sure to discuss it with your Pre-Major Advisor or Advising Dean.