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Academic Regulations

Credit Hour/Semester Hour

The credit hour or semester hour, terms used interchangeably, is the unit of instruction. A minimum of one hour of recitation or lecture work per week for a semester (or its equivalent) constitutes one hour of credit. A minimum of two hours of laboratory work per week for a semester (or its equivalent) also constitutes one hour of credit. A semester is usually 16 weeks in length. Each year, Drake offers two semesters and a summer term.

Student Classification

First-year student/freshman entering directly from high school — fewer than 30 credit hours

Sophomore — 30 to 59 credit hours

Junior — 60 to 89 credit hours

Senior — 90 credit hours and above

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is expected of all students, although the specific attendance policy in each course is determined by the instructor. Information on the attendance policy of each college and school is available in the deans’ offices or college/school Web site.

Grade-Point Average

The minimum requirement for the degree is a cumulative GPA of 2.00 "C" for all work attempted at Drake University.

Grade points are earned on the following basis: four grade points for each credit hour completed with a grade of "A"; three grade points for each credit hour completed with a "B"; two grade points for each credit hour completed with a "C"; one grade point for each credit hour completed with a "D"; and no grade points for a grade of "F" (Failure).

Transfer college work earns credit only and is not included in computing the Drake University cumulative GPA.

The GPA is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credit hours attempted. Grades of "F" are computed in the GPA, but no credit toward graduation is earned. Only passing grades ("A", "B", "C", "D", "Cr.") are used to award graduation credit.

A student may repeat a course. Only the highest grade and credit hours are used in computing the student’s cumulative GPA. Lower grades removed from the computation by a student repeating a course appear on the permanent record marked by a designated symbol. Students cannot remove unsatisfactory grades received at Drake by repeating those courses at other institutions and transferring the credit to Drake.

Students should be aware that most law schools and many graduate schools recompute a student’s GPA in such a way as to count all grades received and not just the highest grade earned for a course.

The mark “I” (Incomplete) indicates a student has not submitted all evidence required for a final grade. The student must make satisfactory arrangements with the instructor to complete the work by the end of the next semester of enrollment (excluding enrollment in summer terms). The instructor writes out the conditions that must be met to remove the incomplete. As a component of these conditions, the instructor may demand an accelerated deadline (the midterm of the following semester) or may provide an extended deadline if special circumstances warrant (a semester abroad, student teaching, etc.). The instructor will indicate the final grade for the course in the event the work is not completed. The statement is filed with the dean of the student’s college or school. A copy is also given to the student. Marks of incomplete are changed to a final grade either by the instructor (upon completion of the work) or by the Office of Student Records (if the work is not completed after one semester has passed). Marks of incomplete are not computed in the GPA.

The mark of “IP” (In Progress) may be given in certain courses where special conditions make the grade of Incomplete unrepresentative of the status of the students at the close of the semester. The grade of “IP” is appropriate only when the coursework could not be finished during the semester for the entire class (e.g., internships, practicums or courses that do not fit the standard academic calendar; fieldwork or research presentations that may take place after a semester has ended; theses or dissertations; or other special situations where coursework extends beyond one semester). A grade of  "IP” must be changed to a final grade by the instructor by the end of the next semester. The instructor must indicate to the appropriate dean’s office in what courses students will be assigned an “IP.”

A student may not graduate/earn a degree from Drake University with an "I" (Incomplete) or an "IP" (In Progress) notation on his/her transcript.

The mark of ‘‘AU’’ (Audit) is recorded in place of a letter grade or credit hours in courses when the instructor and dean have consented to such enrollment. Students who audit classes are not required to take part in discussions or complete examinations. If the attendance requirements are not completed to the satisfaction of the instructor, a permanent record of the enrollment is not retained. Courses taken for audit are charged the same fees as courses completed for academic credit.

Students intending to enroll in a course on an audit basis must indicate this intention at the time of registration. Students wishing to change from a credit to an audit basis during the semester must have the approval of the instructor, the adviser and the dean, and must do so no later than the midpoint of the semester or, in the case of a short course, no later than the midpoint of that course.

Credit/No Credit Program

After achieving sophomore standing, a student may elect to register for a maximum of 12 credit hours of work (of the total 124 credit hours required for the degree) on a credit/no credit basis. Neither the ‘‘credit’’ nor the ‘‘no credit’’ grades are included in the student’s cumulative GPA.

The student may elect to take any course in the University as credit/no credit which is open to students who meet the usual standards for admission to the course except a course that satisfies basic requirements, or a primary or related course applying to the major. Not more than seven credit hours may be taken in a semester on this basis. A student receives credit for a course in which the student earns the equivalent of the grade of "C" or better.

The student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 before registering for a course on a credit/no credit basis. A senior with at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average is eligible to take a maximum of two courses in a semester on a credit/no credit basis, provided the adviser has approved the arrangement.

Although the University requires that a student indicate at the time of registration that a specific course is being taken on a credit/no credit basis, some exceptions are made allowing students to change from credit/no credit grading to regular letter grading — or from regular letter grading to credit/no credit grading — until the midpoint of the semester, or, in the case of a short course, no later than one week following the midpoint of that course.

Students should be aware that most law schools and many graduate schools recompute a student’s GPA in such a way as to count courses graded ‘‘no credit’’ as ‘‘F’’ grades.

Visiting students from other institutions may elect to register for undergraduate courses on a credit/no credit basis.

President’s List and Dean's Lists

The President’s List and Dean's List are announced after each fall and spring semester of the academic year. The President’s List includes the names of all undergraduate students who have satisfied certain other requirements and earned a GPA of 4.00. The Dean's List include those undergraduate students with similar qualifications in each college and school who have achieved a GPA of 3.50 and above.

Appeals On Academic Evaluation

The appeal for a change in grade is handled through the college or school in which the course in question is offered. The appeal process for students who question a final grade in a course is to discuss the matter with the instructor; then with the department chair, if the matter is unresolved; and, finally, with the dean of the college or school.

Academic Integrity Policy

  1. Each college/school has an Academic Integrity Policy Committee:
    1. to propose policies for dealing with problems of academic dishonesty including but not limited to plagiarism and cheating, and to ensure that these policies and procedures are consistent with University policies and procedures;
    2. to implement policies and procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty; and
    3. to review appeals from academic evaluations associated with academic dishonesty. (For more information, see Suggested Hearing Guidelines.)
  2. Academic dishonesty is an encompassing term involving any activity that seeks to gain credit for work one has not done or to deliberately damage or destroy the work of others. Plagiarism is defined as misrepresenting another’s ideas, phrases, discourse or works as one’s own. Cheating is defined as the act, or attempted act, of giving or obtaining aid and/or information by illicit means in meeting any academic requirements, including examinations. (See “Examples of Academic Dishonesty”.)
  3. The composition of the committee is determined by each college/school with consideration given to including both faculty and students.
  4. The penalty for academic dishonesty will vary from incident to incident, depending upon the scope and magnitude of the offense and the circumstances in which it occurred; upon the prior record of the person being penalized; and upon evidence suggesting the existence or absence of a pattern of academic dishonesty in the academic performance of the person committing the offense.
    1. If it is determined by the instructor that the student is guilty of academic misconduct, it is the prerogative of the instructor to assign the appropriate penalty in the course.
    2. Included among the possible penalties that may be imposed by the instructor are a reprimand, grade reduction (including assignment of a failing grade) or dismissal from the course with a failing grade. All such actions must be reported by the instructor to the dean of the college/school in which the incident occurred. For information purposes, the dean should report the incident to the dean of the college/school in which the student is enrolled and may forward the case to the Academic Integrity Policy Committee for further action.
    3. The committee may make a recommendation to the dean concerning whether probation, suspension or dismissal from the University should be imposed.
  5. Each college/school must have procedures to be used by its committee to address appeals from actions taken as a result of an instructor’s determination that a student’s performance involved academic dishonesty.
    If, after appeal, it is determined that there is insufficient evidence of academic dishonesty, the instructor is bound by that finding and may only evaluate the assignment as to its content or other time-honored bases of academic evaluation.
  6. The appeals procedure must include provisions that address the following:
    1. how the appeals process is initiated, and by whom;
    2. a timetable, including the date by which an appeal must be initiated;
    3. steps to be taken in the appeals process;
    4. the nature of the documentation of evidence required or permitted;
    5. the rules applicable in hearings if a hearing is required.
  7. The policies and procedures of the college/school in which the alleged offense occurs are applicable in each instance. In the event that the student is not a member of the college/school in which the alleged offense occurs, the dean of that college/school must report the offense and its disposition to the dean of the student’s college/school for further action, if appropriate. If a recommendation is made for probation, suspension or dismissal from the University, this recommendation must be forwarded for final action to the dean of the college/school in which the student is enrolled. A copy of the recommendation and subsequent action by the dean of the student’s college/school must be sent to the provost.
  8. College/school policies and procedures must be consistent with University policies and procedures. In the event of inconsistencies, University policies and procedures shall prevail.

Suggested Hearing Guidelines: These are suggested guidelines that may be refined in each instance, if the college/school desires, in consultation with the legal counsel of the University.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty: Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to:

Academic Probation and Suspension

Policy: In this policy, the word “student” means an undergraduate student. The term “academic year” means any period of 12 consecutive months embracing two regular semesters, an interim term and two summer sessions. The “cumulative GPA” refers only to credits taken at Drake University. The provisions of Drake University’s probation and suspension policy are grounded in the philosophy that any student enrolled at the University should:

  1. maintain a level of grade performance that demonstrates that he/she can reasonably expect to attain the 2.00 cumulative GPA necessary for graduation;
  2. progress at a rate that permits graduation within five years of full-time enrollment or within six years for pharmacy undergraduates.

Procedures: Files of students subject to probation and suspension are reviewed immediately after grades are received from the Office of Student Records. Between the fall and spring semesters, when time is of the essence, assistant/associate deans may gather information before grades are processed by student records and begin a preliminary review.

Suspension decisions are made by the associate/assistant dean of each college and school. Before the final decision is made, input from various sources, including the student, adviser, professors and other relevant sources may be obtained. Students are suspended from the college/school and the University.

It is the college/school practice to mail suspension letters within 5 working days after grades are made viewable on the Web. Suspended students are notified by certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy of the probation and suspension rules is attached to the letter or a reference to those rules is made in the letter.


  1. A student shall be placed on University probation if, at the end of any fall or spring semester, he/she:
    1. has a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 after enrolling as a full-time student at the beginning of the semester; or
    2. in the first year of full-time enrollment fails to complete 20 credit hours of coursework, or in a subsequent year of full-time enrollment fails to complete 26 credit hours of coursework;
    3. has a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 after attempting a total of 10 hours or more as a part-time student. Individual colleges and schools of the University may establish additional requirements for maintaining “good standing.” Such requirements, when they exist, are outlined in the relevant college/school sections of the catalog.
  2. A full-time student shall be continued on probation for one additional semester if he/she:
    1. has a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 but at or above 1.50 after one semester on probation, and/or
    2. has failed to meet, but is making satisfactory progress toward, the credit hour requirements specified in Section 1b.
  3. A student shall be removed from probation if he/she:
    1. has a cumulative GPA of 2.00, and
    2. is a full-time student and has met the credit hour progress requirement specified in Section 1b.
  4. Any person who is currently paying tuition for a student may receive notification when that student is placed on probation and may receive copies of all successive communications related to the academic standing of the student until such time as probationary status is removed.


  1. A student shall be suspended from the University for at least one academic year if he/she:
    1. is a full-time student and has a cumulative GPA less than 1.00 after the first semester at the University, or
    2. is a full-time student and has a cumulative GPA less than 1.50 after one semester on probation, or
    3. is a full-time student and has a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 after two consecutive semesters on probation;
    4. is a full-time student and, after one academic year on probation, has failed to meet, or after one semester on probation has failed to make satisfactory progress toward, the credit hour progress requirement specified in Section 1b;
    5. is a part-time student and has a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 after attempting an additional 10 credit hours after being placed on academic probation.


  1. A student who has been suspended from the University may petition for readmission during the last regular semester of the specified term of suspension to the dean of his/her college or school. The student may not enroll at the University for at least one year from the time of initial suspension or until the term of suspension has expired.
  2. A student readmitted after suspension remains on probation until he/she has met the requirements for removal from probation as specified in Section 3 of this policy statement. The student shall be suspended from the University again for at least one academic year if he/she has not met the requirements specified in Section 3 after one year of re-enrollment.


  1. A student may appeal the suspension decision to his/her associate/assistant dean; then to the dean of the appropriate college or school; and finally to the provost of the University. The appeal must be in writing with supporting documentation attached. A personal interview may be granted as well.
  2. A student who successfully appeals may be granted the privilege of re-enrollment subject to terms and conditions specified and agreed upon by the student and associate/assistant dean.
  3. These statements reflect the policy and practice in each of the undergraduate colleges and schools. A student who may be subject to probation or suspension should contact the appropriate associate/assistant dean for additional information.

Withholding Transcripts

End-of-term grade reports are not withheld from students because of financial indebtedness. However, “holds” are placed on the release of permanent records (transcripts). Transcripts will not be released by the Office of Student Records until satisfactory arrangements have been made by the student with the office that has placed the hold on the record. A student is promptly notified by the Office of Student Records if there is any reason why that office cannot comply with the request to release his/her transcript. The student should resolve this matter by contacting the appropriate office(s).

Policy on Probation and Intercollegiate and Major Leadership Activities

Any student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better in order to represent the University in intercollegiate or major leadership activities. Consequently, a student on academic probation may not represent the University in such activities. This includes but is not limited to intercollegiate athletics and mock trial competition, noncredit fine arts performances, elected student government positions, residence life positions and student ambassador or peer mentor positions.

Once a student is removed from academic probation, he/she may again represent the University in intercollegiate and major leadership activities. Student organizations within the University are encouraged to adopt a similar policy for persons in or aspiring to leadership positions in such organizations.

Any student who is on probation or is having academic difficulties that might lead to probation is encouraged to contact the associate or assistant dean of his/her college and/or the vice provost for student affairs and academic excellence who will assist the student in obtaining additional academic support services.

Curricula Modification

Modifications of the required curricula may be made only on the recommendation of the student’s adviser and the dean of the college or school. Reasons for such modification include: (a) transferring from another college or university; (b) bypassing of basic courses by scoring satisfactorily on special examinations.

Credit is given only for courses in which the student has been regularly enrolled or for courses in which the student has scored satisfactorily on special examinations. A student who receives a satisfactory score on a special examination receives credit for the course but does not receive a letter grade.

An undergraduate student may change a schedule by adding a course through the end of the first five class days of each semester or, in the case of a short course beginning later in the semester, may add the course before the second class meeting of the course. When an undergraduate student drops or withdraws from a class after the first two weeks but before the midpoint of the semester (or midpoint of a course that meets less than a full semester), the administrative mark of “W” is officially recorded. An undergraduate student may drop or withdraw from a course after the midpoint of the semester (or the midpoint of a course that meets less than a full semester), only if the instructor or dean’s office finds extenuating circumstances that would make the assignment of the “W” appropriate.

A student who withdraws from courses, repeats courses, receives incompletes in courses or takes noncredit courses may not be able to complete the number of credit hours required for satisfactory progress; therefore, the student may be jeopardizing his/her financial aid by withdrawing from or repeating courses, receiving incompletes in courses or taking noncredit courses.

A student may withdraw from the University at any time during a semester, up to and including the last day of class, by obtaining the consent of the dean of the college or school in which the student is enrolled. The application for withdrawal must document the extenuating circumstances that form the basis for the requested withdrawal, such as a serious illness or a family emergency.

Upon approval of the withdrawal, the student’s transcript records the courses in which the student was enrolled that semester as well as the notation “Withdrew” and the date of the withdrawal. If the student leaves the University without obtaining the consent of the dean of the student’s college or school, the student’s transcript records the courses in which the student was enrolled that semester and the grades assigned by the instructors.

Students who are working to pay all or most of their expenses in college are advised not to carry more than 12 credit hours each semester. Students who are below a 2.00 GPA for the previous semester may be required, at the discretion of the dean of the college or school, to carry proportionately reduced programs.

Individual colleges and schools may have additional academic regulations that are stated under the ‘‘Specific Regulations’’ of that college or school in the catalog. The academic regulations for graduate students are stated in the Graduate Catalog. Information on the academic regulations of the Law School may be obtained by writing to the dean of the Law School.

Student Records FERPA Policy Statement

The Provost’s Office and its various subdivisions maintain student education records as an integral part of providing student services. All student education records and the information contained therein are subject to the provisions of the federal privacy act known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and, subject to exceptions stated in FERPA, are not available for inspection by others without a written release from the student unless the person making the request is a University faculty or staff member with legitimate educational interests. Such personnel might include a faculty adviser, professor, dean or a counselor. Parents may or may not be excluded from seeing their student’s education records or receiving information from the records without a release signed by their student, depending on the applicable provisions of FERPA (see “Special Note from the Provost”.)

Generally, students may inspect their own education records at any time the record keeping office is open. Prior notice is required to inspect your own file as inspections are done under the supervision of the office staff. Students may copy the contents of their own education records, although if the file is extensive there may be a reasonable copying charge. Students may not see their parents’ Financial Aid Form or other financial records. Where records involve two or more students, the student may view only that part of the record that pertains to him/her. Students do not have a right to access records of instructional, supervisory or administrative personnel if those records are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except substitute personnel. In addition, students do not have the right to access or review the records of Campus Security if the records were created for the purpose of law enforcement. In all cases where access to records is denied, the student and supervisor of the record shall attempt to informally resolve the matter. If the situation is not resolved in this manner, then the Provost, or his/her designee, shall make a final and binding decision regarding access after reviewing the arguments for access and denial of access.

If students find objectionable material in their file, they should call it to the attention of the supervisor of that record and if the supervisor agrees, the material can be deleted or amended. If the supervisor of the record does not agree to the student’s suggested deletion or amendment after the student has had a chance to present all evidence in his/her favor, then the student may add additional or explanatory material to the file, which will be kept as part of the educational record.

All student files and records are subject to lawful subpoenas and court orders.

University files pertaining to students are normally purged after five years, although each department and College follows its own procedures.

Special note from the Provost on University Policy concerning release of student education records to parents and guardians:

Generally, it is Drake University’s policy to request a signed consent from the student before the University will release the student’s education records (including grades) to parents. The University treats students as adults and encourages parents to become partners with their students. The University believes that this approach reinforces the importance of autonomy and accountability in student development.

There is no law forbidding students from voluntarily sharing all their information with parents after the student receives it from the University, and no consent form is required for such voluntary sharing between student and parent.

Under the following special circumstances, the University may release student education records to parents or others without student consent:

  1. In an emergency, federal law (FERPA) allows the University to contact parents and other appropriate persons and disclose the information necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons;
  2. FERPA allows the University to disclose to parents or legal guardians information about their students’ violation of any federal, state or local law, or any rule or policy of the institution governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, if (a) the student is under the age of 21; and (b) Drake determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances;
  3. The University may disclose to parents or guardians a student’s education records or information therein to the extent necessary to process the student’s financial aid request and for such related purposes as to:
    1. determine eligibility for the aid;
    2. determine the amount of the aid;
    3. determine the conditions for the aid; and/or
    4. enforce the terms and conditions of the aid; and
  4. Finally, consistent with FERPA, if the student decides not to grant permission, then parents will have access to their student’s records if they can provide evidence that meets the “dependent for tax purposes” requirement. (A dependent is an appropriate relative or member of the taxpayer’s household who receives more than half of his/her support for the calendar year from the taxpayer. Scholarships are not taken into consideration. 26 U.S.C. § 152.)

The University’s policy regarding disclosure of student information to parents is explained to parents and students at summer orientation. The release form is available on the web through the Student Services tab in blueView (the campus web portal). A separate release form is required for each office from which information is requested.

Questions regarding FERPA, University policy or parental access to student education records can be addressed to Margie Davidson, Director, Office of Student Records and Academic Information, 515-271-2025 ( or to Wanda Everage, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Academic Excellence at 515-271-3751 (

Adopted by the Faculty Senate, May 9, 2002
Supplemented by Provost to reflect University Policy concerning release of student education records to parents and guardians, November, 2007

Drake University Student Complaint and Appeal Resources and Procedures

The Informal Complaint Process

For the informal complaint, please click here.

Officially Documented Complaints

For the officially documented complaints, please click here.

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