Guidance on Academic Policies: Engineering

General Academic Policies

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

First-year engineering students may register for a maximum of 18 credits; all other engineering students may register for a maximum of 21 credits. To add an additional credit, students must petition your Advising Dean beginning on the first day of each semester, but not before. Such permission is rarely granted.

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 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.

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 may discuss your grade with the course instructor and/or make an appeal to the department chair, program director, or if necessary, a dean of faculty in Ballou Hall. 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 Advisor, Senior Academic Advisor, or Advising Dean.

Policies Specific to Engineering Students

Degree Sheets

  • By default, undergraduate Engineering students use the Degree Sheet associated with their anticipated year of graduation at the time of matriculation.
  • Engineers may also choose to use a newer Degree Sheet from a year after their matriculation. However, they may not use an older Degree Sheet from a year prior to their matriculation. To make this official and have the different degree requirements reflected in the online degree audit in SIS, students should submit the Use a Different Matriculation Degree Sheet form.
  • Degree sheets cannot be used until they are officially approved and listed here.


  • If a student would like to fill a spot on their degree sheet other than as exactly indicated on the degree sheet, they must petition to do so via a Petition for Course Substitution form.
  • All course substitution must first be reviewed by the student's Advisor, then approved by the department’s ABET representative and the Dean of Academic Advising and Undergraduate Studies for School of Engineering, Dean Stephan.

Introductory Math and Natural Sciences Course Substitutions

  • If a student has earned credit for an introductory math or natural sciences course, then they have fulfilled this requirement.
  • If a student has placed out of or opted not to take an introductory math or natural sciences course and they do not have credit for that course, then they must replace the missing credit to fulfill the requirement. The missing credit must be replaced by a higher level math or natural sciences course – one that has the missing credit as a prerequisite – and the substitution must be approved via petition as described above.
  • Courses approved for or carrying only the LA-Natural Sciences attribute cannot substitute for SoE-Natural Sciences. Likewise, courses approved for or carrying only the LA-Mathematics attribute cannot substitute for SoE-Mathematics.
  • An AP BIO exam score of 5 appears on the transcript as AP BIO. An engineering student whose degree requires BIO 13 or BIO 14 may request AP BIO instead be designated as BIO 13 or BIO 14 by emailing

EN1 and ES2 Course Substitutions

  • EN1 may only be taken by first-year students in the fall semester.
  • If a student transferred into the School of Engineering and so did not take EN1, or did not otherwise earn credit for EN1, they may replace EN1 with any SoE-Engineering course via a petition as described above.
  • If a student would like to place out of ES2, they must pass a placement test. Note - students who have credit for comp 11 are exempt from the placement test. Students should contact Professor Ethan Danahy for inquiries about the test.
  • A student who places out of ES2 may replace it with any SoE-Engineering or SoE-Computing course via a petition as described above.

Transfer Course Considerations

  • Transfer course grades do not appear on a student's transcript, but are not considered Pass/Fail courses for the purposes of the degree sheet.
  • If you believe that the course may have an equivalence in the Tufts curriculum (for instance, thermodynamics for ES 7), then you can use the comments section of the transfer of credit request form to ask that the course be reviewed for approval as that specific course. Courses approved as equivalents of specific Tufts courses will count on the degree sheet accordingly. In such cases only, a Petition for Course Substitution is not necessary.
  • If there is no Tufts equivalent, a course may be approved as the general transfer credits 310 (non-major credit), 320 (lower level major elective credit) or 330 (upper level major elective credit).
  • Any course approved by a Science department as 320 or 330 requires a petition to count as a natural sciences elective. Courses approved as 310 cannot count as a natural sciences elective.
  • Any course approved by the Math department as 320 or 330 requires a petition to count on the degree sheet. Courses approved as 310 cannot be applied to the degree sheet except as a free elective.
  • For Breadth, Foundation and Concentration electives, courses approved as 310, 320 or 330 count toward graduation requirements by petition. Close communication with your Major Advisor is critical.
  • For HASS requirements, if there is no equivalent course (or no attribute is listed in SIS), the student may petition for a course substitution. For students who matriculated prior to Fall 2020, a course approved by a specific department counts as that department for the two HASS courses in the same department requirement.

Internal School Transfers

  • Engineering students (last names A–M) who are considering transferring to the School of Arts & Sciences should contact Senior Academic Advisor John Gearin
  • Arts and Sciences students (last names N–Z) who wish to transfer into the School of Engineering should contact Senior Academic Advisor Tara Zantow.
  • Please also visit the Transferring within Tufts webpage for more information.

Second Majors

Students pursuing a major within the School of Engineering may undertake a second major with the consent of the respective department in the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering. For more information, visit our Second Majors page.


Students pursuing a major within the School of Engineering may undertake a minor with the consent of the respective department in the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering. For more information, visit our Minors page.