Frequently Asked Questions

The rules and policies discussed here apply to undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Other colleges may have different policies. If you are a student in another college, be sure to check on your college's policy with your college's undergraduate programs office.

Students are encouraged to call CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development , (319) 335-2633, to schedule an appointment to have questions answered regarding their individual situations. Or Make an Appointment online.

Changes of Registration

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences enforces the change of registration deadlines strictly. We do so in the interests of orderly registration, equity through the student community, and accuracy of students' academic records.

Am I allowed to register for more than the maximum number of semester hours?

If you are in good academic standing you may request permission to register for more hours than the maximum allowed in the CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development office, 120 Schaeffer Hall. Students who will be able to graduate in the next session may request excess hours immediately following the close of early registration in the spring or fall semester. All other students must wait until the first day of classes to request excess hours. Beginning with the first day of classes students must bring a completed add slip to Academic Programs and Student Development when requesting permission for more than 18 hours.

Professional staff approve excess semester hours based on the following UI and total cumulative grade point average guidelines:

Permission for 19 hours (Fall or Spring) requires:
a. 2.0 minimum gpa (academic good standing)
b. evidence of previous substantial (15+ graded hours) and successful semesters

Permission for 20 hours (Fall or Spring) requires:
a. 2.5 minimum gpa
b. evidence of previous substantial (15+ graded hours) and successful semesters

Permission for 21 hours (Fall or Spring) requires:
a. 3.0 minimum gpa
b. evidence of previous substantial (15+ graded hours) and successful semesters

Students may petition for permission to take 22 semester hours or more, but permission for such a heavy load is rarely granted.

Please Note: Permission for excess hours is a privilege. If you perform poorly with an overloaded schedule or withdraw from any of the overload courses, then permission for excess hours will not be granted in a future semester.

Can I add courses after the published deadline?

If you miss the add deadline, but have not previously missed a registration deadline, you may be granted permission to add a class as a one time only exception to the registration deadlines. You will be required to sign an agreement confirming that the exception to the deadline is being granted one time only. You must have your adviser's and instructor's signature on your add slip before coming to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development.

Can I drop courses after the deadline?

Everyone must petition the College to seek permission to drop individual courses or withdraw their entire registration after the published deadlines. Your petition is most likely to be successful if it is supported by documentation of extenuating circumstances that either prevented you from dropping a course before the deadline, or prevent you from completing a course or courses successfully. You must have your adviser's and instructor's signature on your drop slip(s) before coming to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development.

Why can't I change a course to P/N grading after the 2nd week of the semester?

The faculty of the College wants students to decide at the beginning of the semester whether to take a course for Pass/Nonpass credit. Choosing to take a course for P/N credit should not be a reaction to receiving a lower than desired grade when a substantial portion of the course has already been completed. Remember, General Education Program and courses for your major may not be taken for P/N credit.

Second-Grade-Only Options
I took a course twice, but both grades are included in my grade point average. Why?

The Second-Grade-Only Option is not placed on the student record automatically. You must come to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development in order to file a Second-Grade-Only Option. Students may have up to three Second-Grade-Only Options.

I forgot to file a Second-Grade-Only Option for a course I took the second time last semester. Can I still file it?

Yes. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences permits students to file Second-Grade-Only Options retroactively. Come to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development to request a retroactive Second-Grade-Only Option. It will take about a week for this change to appear on your record.

I want to Second-Grade-Only Option a course I took a long time ago, but it's no longer offered.

Go to the department that offered the first course you took and ask if there is another course you can use as a substitute. Upon written recommendation from the department, CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development will file a Second-Grade-Only Option using a different course from the one the student took the first time. Warning: It may not be possible to Second-Grade-Only Option a course if that course or a comparable course is no longer taught by the department.

Declaring Majors
I'm an open major right now. Is there a deadline for when I have to declare a major?

Effective with the Fall 2004 semester, you must declare a major or be admitted to a selective or limited access program by the time you reach 72 semester hours, or you will not be permitted to register for courses until you have a major. Please refer to the section of the Student Academic Handbook on Major Declaration Policy.

How do I change my major?

All undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences can declare or change majors at CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development. Liberal Arts & Sciences students who are advised at the Academic Advising Center can declare or change majors there.
Note: admission to some majors is based on audition, grades in specified prerequisite courses, cumulative grade point average, preparation of a plan of study, or other criteria. Students should check with advisers in CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development, the Academic Advising Center, or consult with the department or program in question for admission information.

Can I change my academic adviser?

Yes, it is easy to change your academic adviser. Just go to your departmental office and ask to be assigned a new adviser. If you are advised at the Academic Advising Center the staff there will assign you a new adviser.

How do I declare a minor?

Minors may be declared through the drop-down menu on your ISIS profile under Student Records.   A degree audit for the minor will become available to you the following day. You also indicate your desire to have a minor listed on your record when you file your application for a degree. If you have met the requirements for the minor, this will be noted on your final transcript.

Can I earn two different degrees, such as a BA and a BS? Can I earn two majors, one in Liberal Arts & Sciences, one in another college?

Yes to both questions. Please refer to the section on Earning Your Degree in the Student Academic Handbook.

How many majors can I declare?

At the current time the student record-keeping system only has the capacity to track two majors, or one major and one certificate, or one major and one pre-professional designation. You can, however, complete as many majors, minors, and certificates as you like. If you are working on third major, you will not receive a degree audit for that major, so you will have to work closely with your adviser to monitor your progress independently.

If you have already completed the requirements for one of your three majors, you can drop that major and receive degree audits for your second and third majors. You may still list all completed majors on your degree application.

Academic Probation and Dismissal
I'm on academic probation. What does this mean? What should I do about it?

Academic probation means that you are not earning grades that demonstrate progress toward a bachelors degree. If you don't improve your academic performance you may be dismissed from the College.

In order to graduate from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, you must meet the minimum of 2.00 for your UI cumulative gpa, your total cumulative gpa, your major gpa, and your UI major gpa.

If you are on academic probation, you need to call CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development, 319-335-2633, and schedule a probationary interview with one of our assistant directors. Among the things we will do at this meeting are to determine what grade point average you need to earn with your current enrollment to be restored to academic good standing, and make referrals to other sources of assistance.

Why am I on academic probation when my total cumulative gpa is higher than 2.00?

Academic probation and good standing are determined on the basis of your University of Iowa grade point average and total cumulative grade point averages. You are on academic probation if either your UI cumulative gpa or your total cumulative gpa is below the standard.
The current minimum grade point averages for good standing are:

0-29 semester hours earned -- 1.85
30 semester hours or more earned -- 2.00
non-degree status (regardless of how many hours earned) -- 2.00

If I get dismissed from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, how soon can I return?

If you've been dismissed from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for the first time, you're eligible to return after one year. For example, a student dismissed at the close of the spring 2004 semester may be reinstated for the fall 2005 semester. A student dismissed after the fall 2004 semester may be reinstated for the spring 2006 semester.

No reinstatements are considered for summer sessions.

Students dismissed for a second time from the College may or may not be eligible for a second reinstatement at some future time. Students wishing to discuss the possibility of a second reinstatement must schedule an appointment with the CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development office.

Can I enroll in a different UI college after dismissal from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences?

You have to discuss this possibility with staff of the college to which you would seek admission. Generally, though, academic dismissal from one college in the University makes you ineligible to enroll in another college for at least one year.

Can I have really bad grades removed from my record?

Maybe. The Student Academic Standards Committee is authorized to consider record adjustments. Schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with a staff member in CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development.

Degree Audit and Graduation Requirements
What do I need to do to be sure I graduate in four years?

We recommend that you read the Four Year Graduation Plan Agreement carefully and familiarize yourself with its provisions. A graduation plan provides an important framework for your education, and you'll want to review it with your academic adviser each year. There is an overview of the Four Year Graduation Plan in the Student Academic Handbook. Please check UI Admissions for more information. You should work with your major department and adviser to be sure you are in compliance with the "check points" for your major.

Where should I go if I have questions about my degree audit?

That depends. If you have questions about General Education Program requirements, residence, and other College of Liberal Arts & Sciences rules, you should come to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development. If your questions are about major requirements, you should consult with your departmental adviser.

I've completed 120 semester hours, but my degree audit says I need more hours to graduate. Why?

There are several possible reasons:

If you have questions about these rules, please come to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development.

Credit From Other Schools
Why doesn't my degree audit show the transfer work that counts toward my major?

Admissions does not apply transfer credit to major requirements. Your major department has to approve transfer courses for completion of major requirements, and notify Graduation Analysis so that the courses can be noted on your degree audit.

How can I be sure that a course I take at another college will transfer back to Iowa?

Prior to taking the course, check with the Office of Admissions, 108 Calvin Hall, for approval of transfer courses. You must provide that office with the name of the school you plan to attend, and the name and course number of the course you intend to take. General Education courses or electives can be approved by Admissions.
Your major adviser must approve transfer courses if you wish them to count toward major requirements.

I transferred to Iowa with an AA degree, but I want to go back to the community college to complete my foreign language requirement. Can I do this?

Yes, but the credit earned from the foreign language courses will not count as credit earned toward graduation.

I'm thinking of studying abroad for a year or a semester. How will this affect my four-year graduation plan?

The University does not guarantee that students who study abroad will be able to graduate under the terms of the Four Year Graduation Plan. You may find that you can arrange your curriculum so that a study abroad experience does not interfere with your four-year graduation plan. On the other hand, you may find that the educational, experiential, and cultural benefits of studying abroad make the extra time needed to graduate worthwhile.

Study Skills Assistance
I realize now that I waste a lot of time and don't have good study habits. Is there some place I can go to learn better study habits?

Upon request, the University Counseling Service offers study skills help to students and groups of students. To find out more about the workshops offered by the Counseling Service visit their web site.
Other offices and departments of campus offer assistance in specific areas. The Academic Advising Center has a great site with connections to many sources of academic support.

Learning Disabilities
What do I do if I have, or I think I have a learning disability?

If you have a history of diagnosed learning disabilities and are not receiving assistance, you should contact the Office of Student Disability Services as soon as possible to initiate the process of registering and becoming eligible for services.
If you have not been diagnosed with a learning disability, visit the Student Disability Services web site for information on the documentation required to become eligible for SDS services.

Emergencies/Scheduling Conflicts
What do I do if I have a conflict between a scheduled class and a test in another class scheduled outside class time?

First, you should always check meeting times and read course descriptions for courses you intend to register, and do your best to avoid conflicts between any class activities. But sometimes it is not possible to schedule around all conflicts. The University has a policy on conflicts between course activities and examinations which covers courses offered by all the undergraduate colleges. The General Exam Policies can be found on the Registrar's web site.
Note: CLAS policy is that any exam given at a time other than the course's regular lecture or discussion meeting time, even when the exam time is listed on ISIS, is considered to be outside of class time.

What should I do if I need to be absent from classes?

The first thing to do is to notify your instructors of your impending absence, find out what material you will be missing, and if it is possible for you to hand in assignments late or make up missed quizzes and examinations. If you miss class for illness, personal or family emergencies, or other excusable reasons, you can print an absence form from the Registrar’s page.
Please note: You may later be required, by instructors or by the College, to provide additional documentation to validate your absence, and you may still be responsible for making up missed work, at the discretion of each individual instructor.

My family has a vacation planned that requires me to leave while classes are still in session. How can I arrange to make up any work I miss?

The Student Academic Handbook states that, "Students should not expect instructors to make adjustments to the class attendance policy, nor to provide make-up exams, so that students can leave campus before the beginning of scheduled vacation times or the end of a semester, or to accommodate family or employment activities." Students and their families should carefully check the University calendar before making any vacation plans. Students who choose to leave campus for vacations or other non-emergency reasons will have to accept any adverse consequences that result.

What if I need to drop a class or withdraw my registration at the end of the semester because of an emergency?

If possible, schedule an appointment to come to CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development as soon as possible. You will be asked to write a petition for permission to drop classes or withdraw your registration after the published deadline, and to provide documentation of the situation that prevents you from completing your course work. Changes of registration made at the end of the semester take time to appear on the record and may not be reflected in the very next grade report issued by the Registrar's Office.

Guided Independent Study Courses
How many Guided Independent Study (GIS) courses can I sign up for at a time? How many can I take overall?

You may enroll in up to three GIS courses at one time, but the Center for Credit Programs strongly urges you to enroll in no more than two courses simultaneously. For more information visit the Guided Independent Study courses webpage.

Please note: students not permitted to register by the College for any reason may not register for GIS courses; this includes students dismissed for low grades, and students suspended for academic misconduct.

Academic Dishonesty
Where can I find information on academic dishonesty (plagiarism and cheating)?

You can find information on what kinds of activities may be identified as academic dishonesty and also how the College responds to academic dishonesty, in the Student Academic Handbook and in the Student Bill of Rights.