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School of Human Ecology

Academic Regulations

Credit Load
Directed Study
Final Examinations
Declaring Additional Majors/Certificates/Specializations while Enrolled in a SoHE Degree Program
Earning Two Undergraduate Degrees Simultaneously
Residence Requirements
Summer Course Equivalency
Pass/Fail Privilege  
Credit through Special Programs and Exams
Placement Testing
Scholastic Actions

Credit Load

A full-time student carries a minimum of 12 credits to a maximum of 18 credits, with the usual or average credit load being 15–16 credits per semester. A student requesting more than 18 credits in a semester needs a signed request with department approval and approval from the School of Human Ecology academic dean. Students requesting this credit load must have earned a grade point average of at least 3.0 during the preceding semester on a program of at least 12 graded credits. "Graded credit" does not include courses taken on the Pass/Fail basis or Incompletes. Requests will be considered on an individual basis.

A student may drop a course without indication of a "Drop" on the transcript within the first eight days of classes. Or, courses may be dropped with an indication on the transcript within the first eight weeks of the semester. It is recommended that any reduction in program be made within the first four weeks. See the registrar's website for specific dates.


A student must have earned at least 24 credits and 48 grade points to be classified as a sophomore; at least 54 credits and 108 grade points as a junior; and at least 86 credits and 172 grade points as a senior. Freshman and sophomore students are permitted to take courses in the University for which they meet the prerequisites; courses numbered 1 to 299 may be taken for credit by undergraduates only; those numbered from 300 to 699 are open for credit to both undergraduates and graduates; those numbered from 700 to 999 are open only to graduate students.

Directed Study

Directed study offers the student an opportunity to work with a faculty member. A student who is stimulated by a particular concept or problem encountered in a course can pursue and develop that interest in depth through a directed study project. Individualized study can make a valuable contribution to a student's educational experience. Directed study courses are made available by departments on the basis of a student's preparation and motivation and a faculty member's willingness to accept the student in such an endeavor. A student must have the consent of the instructor under whose supervision the student wishes to study before enrolling in a directed study course. The student is expected to develop a tentative plan and submit it to the sponsoring faculty member for advice and refinement.


It is expected that every student will be present at all classes. In accordance with UW–Madison Faculty Document 488a, faculty are asked not to schedule mandatory course requirements on dates when a religious observation may cause substantial numbers of students to be absent. Faculty and instructors are encouraged to extend reasonable consideration to accommodate students should their university-endorsed extracurricular activities, not including practice activities for performances or athletic events, conflict with class attendance requirements. It is expected that students provide adequate and reasonable advance notice to faculty and instructors in order that they can ensure that an accommodation is made.

In the School of Human Ecology, the instructor shall determine the validity of excuses and the measures to be taken, if any, to make up absences. The Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office does not provide letters verifying illnesses or other situations leading to absences from classes or examinations.

Final Examinations

The seven days of the summary period are prescheduled to include one two-hour summary instructional period for each course of 2 or more credits. The period shall be used for an examination or for other instructional activities as deemed appropriate by the instructor and as approved by the instructional unit offering the course.

Take-home final examinations are due at the scheduled period. Final examinations or other summary period activities cannot be scheduled during the two weeks preceding the summary instructional period.

The summary instructional period schedule as published in the Course Guide must be adhered to by faculty. The time of a two-hour block for a class and due date for a take-home examination may be changed only with the prior approval of the Dean. If a student has more than two summary periods within 24 hours, the student may request that one exam be moved to a later date.

Declaring Additional Majors/Certificates/Specializations While Enrolled in a SoHE Degree Program

The College of Letters and Science allows School of Human Ecology undergraduates to declare an additional undergraduate major in the College of Letters and Science. This is not a second degree. It is an additional area of study noted on the student's transcript if all requirements of the Letters and Science major are completed.

The School of Human Ecology will graduate a student at the end of the semester (spring, summer, or fall) in which all SoHE major requirements are complete. Graduation will not be postponed for incomplete additional major(s), certificate program (s), specialization(s), study abroad, or honors program(s).  School of Human Ecology Students must plan to finish all additional academic programs concurrently with their SoHE degree. For more information contact the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office; advising@sohe.wisc.edu; 608-262-2608.

Earning Two Undergraduate Degrees Simultaneously

School of Human Ecology students interested in completing two degrees simultaneously (as opposed to two majors) should consult with their academic advisor early in their academic career to discuss the feasibility of completing requirements for both degrees. Degree combinations may come from two Human Ecology programs or from a Human Ecology program and a degree program in another school or college. Students must complete all of the requirements for both degrees, which include general education requirements, major coursework, and related disciplinary work.

It is the student's responsibility to be aware of any rules or regulations (such as the financial aid Ten Term Rule or the UW System Excess Credit Policy) that could potentially impose additional financial responsibilities as a result of attempting to complete two degrees simultaneously. Please note that some campus schools and colleges do not permit dual degrees for their students, thus preventing Human Ecology degree combinations with degrees in these schools and colleges. Students wishing to earn two undergraduate degrees must follow these academic policies:

If the two degrees to be earned are within the School of Human Ecology, at least 30 additional credits and all course and grade point requirements must be completed for the second degree. Thus, a minimum of 150 credits would be required. The two degree programs must differ sufficiently to permit the total credits to be accumulated (for instance, Personal Finance and Retailing do not differ to the extent that it would take an additional 30 credits to complete the second degree; therefore, earning both degrees simultaneously will not be allowed). Before the start of the senior year in residence, students must meet the criteria for admission to both programs, must be certified to enroll in both programs, and must obtain academic dean's approval. The two degrees must be completed simultaneously. Some courses may satisfy requirements for both degrees, but course substitutions or curriculum exceptions between programs will be prohibited.

If the two degrees to be earned are from two different schools/colleges (one degree in Human Ecology and one degree in another school or college on this campus), the two degree programs must differ sufficiently so that the combined total requirements for the two degrees are at least 150 credits. Admission into the other school/college shall be based on the admission criteria for that particular school/college. The student must be certified to enroll in both programs/schools/colleges and written permission to complete the two degrees must be obtained from academic deans in both schools/colleges before the start of the student's senior year in residence. The two degrees must be completed simultaneously. Some courses may satisfy requirements for both degrees, but course substitutions or curriculum exceptions between programs will be prohibited for the Human Ecology program.

Additional information pertaining to earning two undergraduate degrees simultaneously are available from the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office, 1194 Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Drive, advising@sohe.wisc.edu.

Residence Requirements

The university requires that the last 30 credits be earned in residence at UW–Madison for students to be recommended for a degree, unless the student's major program requires completion of the degree at a cooperative institution. Permission of the assistant dean of academic affairs must be secured in advance to take any portion of the senior year at another institution or by correspondence. For more information contact the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office; advising@sohe.wisc.edu; 608-262-2608.

Summer Course Equivalency

Enrolled students who plan to complete summer coursework at another institution should determine that the course will transfer back to UW–Madison as intended. Course equivalencies to UW System schools and Wisconsin Technical Colleges can be accessed on the Transfer Information System (TIS). Students planning to take a course at a school outside the UW System or Wisconsin Technical colleges should submit a Course Equivalency Form to the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment. The form is available online from the Office of Admissions and Recruitment (702 West Johnson Street; 608-262-3961). The service is available March 1 through May 15 and provides information about how coursework will transfer back to UW–Madison.

Grades earned at other colleges or universities will not factor into the GPA at UW–Madison. Upon completion of the course, it is the student's responsibility to have the institution send an official transcript, with grades earned, to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, 702 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706. It is also the student's responsibility to meet with an advisor to have summer transfer credits applied to the appropriate degree requirement on the DARS report upon returning to campus.

Pass/Fail Privilege

The privilege of electing courses on a pass/fail basis is extended to undergraduate students in the school. Students who are in good standing academically (not on probation) may elect one course on the pass/fail basis per term. The summer sessions collectively count as one term. A course taken pass/fail must be an elective. A student may not take a required course or a prerequisite to a required course under this privilege. A maximum of 16 pass/fail credits may be counted toward a B.S. degree from the School of Human Ecology. Courses taken pass/fail will count toward degree credits but will be excluded in the computation of grade point average and honors.

Requests to take a course under the pass/fail privilege are initiated through the Course Change Request in the MyUW Student Center. Instructions for making a course change request can be found on the registrar's website. After making the request in MyUW, the request is routed to the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office for approval or further communication. Students may submit pass/fail requests via their Student Center from the time that they enroll until 64 midnight on the Friday at the end of the fourth week of fall and spring semesters. (For modular 65 and summer session courses, pass/fail requests must be submitted by midnight Friday of the 66 week in which the session is one-fourth completed).

Students who elect work under this privilege should make certain they are eligible and meet the pass/fail requirements above. Students are urged to check with their advisors if they have any questions. Because it is impossible to make an immediate administrative check, students found during the semester to be ineligible or to be taking a course not meeting pass/fail requirements may be required to carry the course on the conventional grading system.

The registrar will convert final grades submitted by the instructor, who is not informed of the student's pass/fail status, to an S (pass) for grades A, AB, B, BC or C, and to a U (fail) for a grade of D or F. The grade is excluded from the GPA.


Students may audit a course with instructor and advisor consent and if no laboratory or performance skills are involved. Auditors may not recite or take examinations but are expected to attend classes regularly and do some assigned work. Audit courses carry no academic credit, do not fulfill degree requirements, and may affect a student's classification as a full-time student. The credit value of audited courses is included in the semester load for determining fees and the maximum number of credits carried each semester. The deadline to change a course from credit to audit is the end of the fourth week of classes, although changing an audited course back to a credit course must be done within the first two weeks of the semester.

Credit Through Special Programs and Exams

AP/IB/CLEP. UW–Madison offers the possibility of degree credit based on a student's performance on the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Please refer to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment website for a list of current AP, IB, and CLEP credit policies.

Attainment Examinations. Attainment examinations, written and/or oral, or an appropriate substitute, may be taken to demonstrate mastery of a course required for graduation upon application to the advisor, the course instructor, and to the chair of the department in which the course is offered. The examination must be taken during the time period specified by the program area. Passing the examination exempts the student from a specific requirement and permits registration in an advance course, or substitution of a subject of choice for the required subject, but does not reduce the total number of credits required for graduation.

SoHE Examinations for Credit. Upon recommendation of the advisor, the course instructor, and the chair of the program area in which the course is offered, a student may take a special examination for credit in a course in the school. These examinations may be written and/or oral. In some instances, other means of assessing a student's ability may be required. Examinations for credit are normally based on work equivalent to that in a university course, with credit granted correspondingly. Evidence of work justifying such an examination must be presented during the time period specified by the program area, and the examination taken at a time specified by the program area. The number of credits by examination that may be counted in a program area is determined by the program area. The number of such credits that may be counted as degree credits will be individually determined by the curriculum committee. (See chair of each program area for courses open to examination for credit.)

Placement Testing

Before enrolling in classes at UW–Madison, most students must take placement tests in English, mathematics, and foreign language. The results of the placement tests are used by academic advisors at Student Orientation, Advising, and registration (SOAR) to help students enroll in appropriate course levels. In addition, English and math placement scores may satisfy General Education Requirements. ACT, SAT, TOEFL, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores do not fulfill this requirement or replace the need for placement testing in a specific area.

Scholastic Actions

How to Figure the GPA

The grade point average for a student is derived by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of grade point average credits taken, whether the course was passed or not, exclusive of credits reported as incomplete or progress and credits reported for courses (S/U) and for specially approved courses designated as Cr/N (Credit/No Credit).

An example of a user-friendly GPA calculator can be found online at CCAS GPA Calculator.

Grade Point System

Semester grades are reported by letter only. For convenience in computing weighted averages, each letter grade carries a specific number of points per credit. For a detailed explanation, please see Grading System.

Grades with Associated Grade Points per Credit:

Grade — Grade Points Per Credit
A (Excellent) — 4
AB (Intermediate Grade) — 3.5
B (Good) — 3
BC (Intermediate Grade) — 2.5
C (Fair) — 2
D (Poor) — 1
F (Failure) — 0

Failures and Incompletes

Failures. Every course grade of F counts as 0 grade points, and as any other grade, remains permanently on the transcript. A student who fails a course required for a major or a degree requirement must repeat the course and secure a passing grade as soon as the subject is again offered during the student's residence at the University. A failure shall take precedence over other courses in being fitted into the student's study schedule when it is next offered. The failure may not be addressed by repeating the course at another college or university. After the course is repeated, the original F will remain on the transcript and will be included in computing the GPA.

Incompletes. An Incomplete may be granted when a documented illness or other substantiated hardship causes the student to be unable to take final examinations or complete a substantial portion of the course. Under these conditions, a student who has carried a passing grade until near the end of the semester may request a grade of Incomplete. It is up to the instructor to decide whether an Incomplete is warranted.  If granted a grade of Incomplete (I), the student must complete the course no later than the close of the next semester of residence at UW–Madison (exclusive of summer term). If not completed in the required time, the grade will lapse into a Failure (F). With documentation of extenuating circumstances, the student may seek permission to extend an Incomplete beyond the semester in which the course was scheduled to be completed. An extended Incomplete must be removed within the next semester in residence or the grade will lapse into Failure (F). Incompletes incurred during the summer session must also be completed no later than the close of the next semester in residence under the same rules. Students are ineligible for the dean's list for the semester in which a grade of Incomplete is submitted.

School Automatic Actions 

Failure to earn at least a C average (2.0 GPA, under the system outlined above) will result automatically in academic action placing the student in the status of Probation, Continued Probation, Must Obtain Permission to Continue, Strict Probation, Continued Strict Probation, or Dropped from the university. Such actions are based on (1) the status of the student as a result of any previous academic action, (2) the cumulative GPA including the current semester, and (3) the GPA for the semester just completed. Students can readily determine their status and the probability of being subjected to action. Academic Actions will appear on the memoranda section of a student's transcripts.*

*Note: Unofficial transcripts may be requested from a student's My UW Portal,  Student Center page, the My Academics link, Request my student record options. Completing the selection process will send the unofficial transcript to the student's wisc.edu email account.

Definitions of Scholastic Actions

Probation. A student who has no previous action with semester or summer session GPA less than 2.0 but 1.0 or more will be placed on probation.

Continued Probation. A student on probation whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 and whose semester or summer session GPA is 2.0 or above will be placed on continued probation.  A student on continued probation whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 and whose semester or summer session GPA is 2.0 or above will be placed again on continued probation.

Strict Probation. A student with no previous action but with a current semester or summer session GPA below 1.0 will be placed on strict probation. A student on probation whose semester or summer session GPA is less than 2.0 but 1.5 or above will be placed on strict probation.

Continued Strict Probation. A student on strict probation or continued strict probation who earns a semester or summer session GPA of 2.0 or above but whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 will be placed on continued strict probation.

Dropped from the University. A student on probation whose semester or summer session GPA is less than 1.5; dropped for one year.

A student on strict probation whose semester or summer session GPA is less than 2.0; dropped for at least one year.

Removal from Probation. Students on probation or strict probation will be automatically removed from probation when their cumulative GPA reaches 2.0 or more.

Dropped Status. In applying for reentry to the University, School of Human Ecology students whose GPAs place them in dropped status must submit a written statement that explains the circumstances of the academic action and describes how they intend to demonstrate success toward graduation.  The statement must include the student's full name when last enrolled at the University, the major pursued and the student campus identification number.  The student may return on strict probation after being away the required length of time with permission when there is evidence of ability and desire for scholastic work. A student dropped for a third time will not be readmitted. For more information, contact the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office; advising@sohe.wisc.edu; 608-262-2608.

Appeals. The student who is in dropped status due to unusual and substantiated circumstances may appeal for readmission. For more information, contact the Student Academic Affairs & Career Development Office; advising@sohe.wisc.edu; 608-262-2608.