Jun 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Regulations

Davidson College Academic Regulations

As adopted by the Faculty, March 8, 2005 and subsequently amended




            Creating and Revising Academic Policies

The By-Laws of the Faculty state that “the primary responsibility of the Faculty as a body is the planning and guidance of the educational program of the College.” In exercising its function, the Faculty establishes these regulations governing curriculum requirements and academic standards.


Specific requirements, including amendment of these regulations, are subject to the approval of the Faculty. Ordinarily, revision of requirements and regulations stems from proposals made through the Educational Policy Committee.


All incoming first-year students should follow the Academic Regulations at the time of matriculation. Transfer students should follow the Academic Regulations for their class year.


            Student Questions and Concerns

Students are responsible for knowing and meeting applicable degree requirements and other academic regulations pertaining to them. Questions regarding regulations should be raised with the student’s adviser or the Registrar. Requests for individual exceptions should be directed through the Registrar to the Curriculum Requirements Committee.


Admission and Classification of Students


            The Faculty Committee on Admission and Financial Aid is responsible for

determining the academic qualifications to be applied to the admission of students.  Medical examinations may be required upon entrance or any time thereafter.


            Extended Registration

Registration beyond eight semesters, excluding summer sessions, must be authorized by the Curriculum Requirements Committee on the advice of the Dean of Students. 


            Classification of Students

Special Student

Davidson College does not ordinarily admit students for single courses or other than a full course load. In rare circumstances, a student may be admitted for a single course or a single semester. Such students ordinarily will have already earned a bachelor’s degree and are not candidates for a Davidson College degree. Admission requires the recommendations of the Office of Admission under policies set by the Admissions Committee and the approval of the Registrar, contingent upon the availability of space in the desired course or courses. Tuition for each course is set as one-eighth of annual tuition.


One-year International Student

Such students, from outside the U.S., are admitted to a special certificate (non-degree) program. Students in this program must take at least seven courses and earn a minimum of six course credits during the academic year. 


Visiting Student

Such students are candidates for a degree at another institution, as confirmed by the Registrar of that institution, but are taking courses for credit at Davidson College or a Davidson College Study Abroad program. A visiting student on campus must be accepted by the Office of Admission under policies set by the Admissions Committee; if for a Davidson College program abroad, by the Office of Study Abroad. 



These are persons who attend a course without registration or credit but with the permission of the instructor. Permission to audit is a courtesy extended to an individual upon request to the Registrar and involves no grade, and no academic record; some fees may at times apply. The person wishing to audit a course must complete a form in the Registrar’s Office and secure the signature of the instructor. With the exception of currently enrolled students, an auditor must be at least 18 years old and must have a high school diploma. 




A student completing graduation requirements with a major in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or Psychology shall receive a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree. A student completing graduation requirements in Africana Studies, Anthropology, Art, Chinese Language and Literature, Classics, East Asian Studies, Economics, English, French and Francophone Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, Latin American Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theatre shall receive an A.B. (Bachelor of Arts) degree. Depending on a student’s individual course of study, students with majors in Environmental Studies or in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies may receive either an A.B. or B.S. degree. The college awards degrees only at the end of the spring semester and at the end of the summer. 


Davidson does not award dual degrees. A student with a double major who completes the requirements in departments that offer majors leading to different degrees must choose the degree to be conferred, A.B. or B.S.


A student who has a Bachelor’s degree from Davidson College or from another institution may not receive a second degree from Davidson College using credit from a previous degree. 


Degree Requirements


                        A liberal education helps students develop a broad range of skills and sensibilities

and thereby become critical, inquisitive, and intellectually responsible citizens. 

The faculty expects that these requirements will assist students in applying their own and others’ knowledge responsibly in their civic and professional lives. In courses satisfying the requirements, students will examine complex problems through diverse methods of inquiry, understand how different kinds of knowledge are generated, and identify appropriate standards for evaluating knowledge in different realms. The requirements also provide knowledge of public and scholarly concerns from multiple viewpoints, respecting both tradition and innovation. The faculty hopes that students who take such courses early in their college curricula will address these questions frequently during their time at Davidson College.

Students are expected to actively participate in the educational experience offered by the faculty and the college.  The development of critical study and life skills, such as working independently and in groups, managing competing priorities and obligations, and adhering to deadlines, is an important goal of education.  Students are therefore expected to observe all college deadlines as described in the academic regulations.


Requirements for Completion of A.B. and B.S. Degrees[1]

            Dean of Students

Be of good disciplinary standing.


Business Services

            Discharge all college financial obligations to the satisfaction of Business Services.



Complete satisfactorily 32 courses, one-half in residence at Davidson College. The period of residence must include the senior year (at least the final seven courses). Courses in off-campus programs officially sponsored by Davidson College are considered to be courses in residence.


During the 2020-2021 academic year, a full course load will be defined as at least three courses per semester.  The number of courses required for graduation - currently 32 - will be reduced for members of the Classes of 2021 through 2024. The requirement will be 31 courses for students enrolled for one semester of the coming academic year and 30 courses for those enrolled during both semesters.


Foreign Language

Complete the Foreign Language Requirement by successfully completing the third-semester level (201 or higher) of a Davidson College foreign language course, by an approved transfer course at equivalent level, or by equivalent proficiency as determined and certified by the appropriate Davidson foreign language department. In prescribing foreign language study, the faculty guides students toward a foundation for an international education, as an understanding of how language works, both as a mode of human communication and as a way of constructing the world in different social and cultural contexts. Courses offered through the Self-Instructional Language Program do not satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement. A student who satisfactorily documents that English is not his or her first language satisfies the foreign language requirement. It is strongly recommended that students complete the foreign language requirement before entering the senior year.



Complete the Writing (Composition) Requirement by completing successfully by the end of the first year at Davidson College either a WRI 101 course or the second semester of the Humanities Program (HUM 104). In prescribing a course in writing, the faculty guides students toward a foundation for making clear and sophisticated arguments about complex intellectual issues. Advanced Placement or other credits completed prior to college matriculation do not satisfy the writing requirement.


Cultural Diversity

Complete a course designated as satisfying the Cultural Diversity (CULT) Requirement. Such courses deal principally with one or more cultures that differ from the dominant cultures of the United States or Western Europe. In prescribing a course on one or more cultures other than the dominant cultures of the U.S. or Western Europe, the faculty guides students to explore cultural differences from an academic perspective.


Justice, Equality, and Community

Complete a course designated as satisfying the Justice, Equality, and Community (JEC) Requirement. Such courses address justice and equality as they appear in various communities, locales, nations, or regions, and focus on methods and/or theories that have been used to analyze, bring attention to, or remedy instances of injustice and inequality. In prescribing a course that examines these matters, the faculty guides students to examine how justice and equality have been distributed, enacted, problematized, and idealized in historical or contemporary settings. 


Ways of Knowing

Davidson College’s Ways of Knowing Requirements invite students to explore the fundamental question, “How do I know what I know?” The question prompts students to understand and evaluate the origins of knowledge, values, and beliefs, and to question and revise their determinations when needed. Davidson College’s Ways of Knowing Requirements foster and guide students’ exploration of that fundamental question. Students who complete courses fulfilling the requirements will engage with a broad and diverse array of important questions and with the many and diverse methods of inquiry put forward to address them.  The requirements are designed to help students understand 1) the relationship between what we know and how we know it; 2) the ways interpretation, analysis, and expression differ across and within disciplines of the liberal arts; and 3) the ways scholars share information and ideas with one another and with the public. 


Each student must complete seven courses fulfilling Ways of Knowing Requirements, one course in each of the categories below.


No single course satisfies more than one Ways of Knowing Requirement. A course may satisfy a Ways of Knowing Requirement and the Cultural Diversity requirement or the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement. A course may satisfy a Ways of Knowing Requirement as well as requirements in a Major, Minor, Interdisciplinary Minor, or (for courses above the 201 level) Foreign Language.


The Registrar may designate a transfer credit (including AP or other pre-college credit) as satisfying a Foreign Language, Ways of Knowing, Writing, Cultural Diversity, or Justice, Equality, and Community Requirement following, as occasion demands, consultation with the appropriate department or program chairs. 


                        Historical Thought

Courses that seek to understand past human societies and how those societies have evolved over time. Examining documents and/or artifacts to construct broad narratives about the past and how human societies have evolved over time, these courses reveal the constructed ways in which we understand the past and suggest the contingency of how we understand the present.


                        Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric

Courses that develop skills for creating and analyzing the complexities of language, form, and aesthetics through which speakers and writers represent the world or express their ideas about it. These courses explore written and oral forms of expression that invite creative interpretation.


                        Mathematical and Quantitative Thought

Courses that study mathematical, programming, or statistical concepts. Some of these courses instruct students in making and analyzing numerically-based claims about reality; others develop knowledge based on mathematical proof and problem-solving.


                        Natural Science

Laboratory courses that study the natural and physical world through direct observation, experimentation, and/or analysis of empirical evidence. In these courses students encounter concepts and models and test them against measurements of natural and physical processes, differentiating knowledge based on testable explanations of phenomena from other kinds of knowledge.


                        Philosophical and Religious Perspectives

Courses on fundamental questions, philosophical reasoning, and religious thought and practices. These courses reflect on questions about knowledge, existence, or the social and ethical world; reasoning about the derivation of positions, beliefs, or values; or practices forming individual or community identity.


                        Social-Scientific Thought

Courses that employ systematic analysis of qualitative, quantitative, and/or ethnographic information drawn from the human world. These courses develop, test, and explain concepts and theories about human behavior, either individual or collective, and differentiate knowledge derived from observations of the human world from other sorts of knowledge.


                        Visual and Performing Arts

Courses that teach students to represent or express ideas or formulate arguments about how the world is represented in music, theatre, visual art, dance, and screen media. These courses help students build conceptual vocabularies for interpreting and communicating ideas about such works and the formal and aesthetic concerns related to them, and/or understand how others have interpreted and communicated these ideas in historical contexts.


            Major Field of Study

Complete all requirements for a major field of study, including an average of 2.0 in the courses counted toward the major. For the computation of the major grade point average, when a course is repeated, only the most recent grade counts. 



            Physical Education and Wellness

A total of three non-credit physical education and wellness courses are required: two Lifetime Activity credits and one Team Sport credit.  Students are encouraged, but not required, to complete the physical education and wellness requirement by the end of their sophomore year.


Commencement Ceremony

Davidson College holds one commencement ceremony each year in May. With approval from the Registrar, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice Chair pro tem, and Vice President for Student Life, each student who has submitted a clear plan to the Registrar for graduation in August may have his or her name called and walk across the stage at the May ceremony. Students who finish in December will participate in the commencement ceremony the following May.


Majors, Minors, and Interdisciplinary Minors



Requirements for each major, generally including 10-12 courses, are listed under the several department headings in the Davidson College Catalog. Requirements for a major in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies are set forth when a student is accepted as a major upon successful application to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. All students must officially declare a major through the Office of the Registrar by the beginning of the junior year.


Double Majors

A student may choose to declare a second major through the Registrar’s Office. Courses may not be counted in each of two majors except that with specific permission of both major departments, a maximum of two courses may be so counted. 



Some departments offer minors. A minor is a set of five or six courses designated by a participating department. Courses counted toward a minor may not be counted toward a major except that with specific permission of both the major and

minor departments, a maximum of one course may be so counted. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average to pursue a minor and must achieve a minimum of 2.0 average on all courses counted toward a minor.


Students are allowed to declare a minor through the Registrar’s Office no later than October 1 of the senior year. Department chairs or minor advisers recommend the minor for certification by the Registrar at the time of graduation. At the time of graduation and upon certification by the department chair or minor adviser to the Registrar that the student has satisfied requirements for a minor, the minor will be noted on the transcript. 



Interdisciplinary Minors

In order to make formal connections among courses and disciplines, a student may choose an interdisciplinary minor, which consists of five or six courses representing two or more departments. The requirements for each interdisciplinary minor may include stipulations regarding grade point average, course level, and limitations on counting a course for both a major and an interdisciplinary minor. 


Students apply to and are accepted by the faculty coordinator of the particular interdisciplinary minor. At the time of graduation and upon certification by the faculty coordinator to the Registrar that the student has satisfied requirements for an interdisciplinary minor, the interdisciplinary minor will be noted on the transcript. 



A student may choose a second major, a minor, or an interdisciplinary minor, but no combination of the above. 


Academic Calendar, Registration, and Attendance


            Academic Calendar

The fall semester contains 14 weeks of regular classes and a total of one week of breaks during the semester. In the fifteenth week of classes, there are three regularly scheduled class days on which classes are held at the professor’s option and one Reading Day, followed by at least five examination days. During the fifteenth week of the spring semester, there are five regularly scheduled class days on which classes are held at the professor’s option, followed by Reading Day, and at least five examination days. Any course requiring a final examination shall have no reviews administered during the optional class days. 



The Registrar establishes a registration period for each semester of the academic year and a period for students to change courses and sections for that semester.


Any student who fails to register or to apply for an approved leave status by the close of the late registration period preceding any academic semester is assumed NOT to be returning, may be withdrawn, and shall forfeit the tuition deposit.


The Registrar shall design and publish procedures for drop-add each semester that will include: 1) a pre-semester period when feasible; 2) periods during the first week of each semester to drop and add courses; and 3) periods during the second week of each semester to drop any course and to add a course, with an add requiring written approval from the professor. Registration changes after the end of the first week of the semester will incur a late fee set and published by the Registrar. 


Course Loads

The normal academic load at Davidson College is four courses bearing academic credit per semester. A student may elect to take a fifth course. Except for the opportunity described below, a reduced load (three courses) must be recommended by the Dean of Students and approved by the Curriculum Requirements Committee. Such a reduction ordinarily is based on medical or similar circumstances or special accommodations related to learning differences. There is no reduction in tuition for a reduced load, nor is there an additional fee for an overload. 


Each Davidson College course credit is evaluated as equivalent to four semester hours. A full-time student thus must take a minimum course load of 12 semester hours (three courses) in defined circumstances, 16 semester hours (four courses) in usual circumstances. Independent Study courses bearing academic credit are included in a student’s course load.


A student who is ahead of normal progress in regard to number of courses may elect a three-course load during any one of the final three semesters (spring of junior year, either semester of senior year). No application for permission is required.


During the 2020-2021 academic year, a full course load will be defined as at least three courses per semester.  The number of courses required for graduation - currently 32 - will be reduced for members of the Classes of 2021 through 2024. The requirement will be 31 courses for students enrolled for one semester of the coming academic year and 30 courses for those enrolled during both semesters.


Credit Definition

Course credit at Davidson College is awarded based on the successful completion of learning outcomes developed by individual departments and programs. All courses are approved by the college’s faculty through a process that requires review and action by all appropriate academic programs and the recommendation of the Educational Policy Committee.


Davidson College courses (with the exception of two-credit intensive courses numbered 103) all carry one course credit.  One course credit is equivalent to four semester credits. In-person contact with the course instructor is a key component required for students to meet learning outcomes at Davidson College. In accordance with the federal definition of the credit hour, one course credit at Davidson College equates to at least 12 total hours of academic work each week in a 15-week semester. Students are typically expected to engage in academic activities outside of the scheduled time in class. Depending on the nature of the course, some meet longer in person, while others include more out of class work. The expectation is that regardless of the individual design of the course, each course has a total workload of at least 12 hours per week. 


Class Attendance Policy

Regular class attendance is the student’s obligation, and the student is responsible for all the work of all class meetings. A student who is absent from more than one-fourth of the course meetings scheduled by the instructor shall be assigned a grade of F, unless the instructor specifies a different policy at the beginning of the course. Students should note that each professor has discretion to establish the attendance policy in each class.


Davidson College policies require that schedules for athletic and other college-sponsored extracurricular activities may not require any student to miss more than three Monday/Wednesday/Friday, two Tuesday/Thursday, or two Monday/Wednesday classes or laboratories. In addition, students may not be required to miss two consecutive regular class meetings in any course or to miss days set aside for examinations or Reading Day without special permission from the Educational Policy Committee. In the case of conflicts, class attendance shall always take precedence over other college-sponsored activities. It is the responsibility of coaches or other appropriate officials to notify students, no later than the first week of classes, of any days during the semester when the students will be required to miss a class (and to remind students that, in the case of conflict, classes have priority over nonacademic events). 


The proposed schedule for any activity planned in advance (including practices and rehearsals as well as contests and performances) must be submitted to the Educational Policy Committee in sufficient time for the Committee’s review to result in a schedule change if the above guidelines are not met.


Special Conditions for Absences

In extraordinary cases, exceptions may be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will inform the Educational Policy Committee of all such instances. It is the responsibility of coaches or others in such situations to minimize class absences as far as is reasonably practical. A similar principle applies to the rescheduling of rained-out events, although it is suggested that sports in which difficulties occur regularly refrain from scheduling the maximum number of absences. 


Planned class-related activities that would take students away from campus for one or more full class days, the designated Reading Day, or examination days during a semester should be reported in advance to the department chair and the Educational Policy Committee for review. Information about extended class-related trips, including cost, is to be available to students at the time of course registration.


Independent Study Courses

Independent Study or Independent Research courses are available at the discretion of a faculty member and of the chair of the appropriate department or program. Final registration for all independent study or research courses requires permission of the faculty member who will supervise such work and of the department or program chair. They count as one full course credit and are part of the student’s overall course load. 


Because an Independent Study course counts in every respect as a full course, the expectation is that the goals and scope of such studies are comparable to those appropriate for any regularly offered course and that the project will consist of work done by the student that explores material new to the student or clearly advances his or her knowledge beyond previous experience. There should be a written understanding on the part of both student and faculty member regarding goals and expectations with regard to work achieved, appropriate deadlines, and criteria for evaluation of the work. An “Independent Study” contract form, on the model of the Summer Contract Course form, is available from the Registrar’s Office. A student may tentatively register for an Independent Study or research course on the basis of oral or other assurance of the form to the Registrar, with the approval of the department or program chair, prior to the end of the scheduled drop-add period (the end of the second week of class). Both the student and the faculty member are to be on campus during the semester involved.[2]


Summer Contract Courses

During the summer, students may arrange individual courses with individual professors on a contractual basis. These courses are evaluated as residence credit and are normally available only to enrolled Davidson College students. A student may choose to take the course for a regular grade or on a Pass/Fail basis. The work is essentially independent in nature. 


A student with an overall GPA of less than 2.0 will be allowed to take Contract Courses only if the instructor and student are in residence for the duration of the course. A student shall be allowed to count toward graduation a maximum of two Summer Contract Courses.


To register, the student must get a Summer Contract Course form from the Registrar’s office and secure the approval (with signatures) from the appropriate persons. The deadline for registration and completion of Contract Courses (as well as the fee) will be determined and announced by the Registrar during the spring semester.


A faculty member may accept a maximum of four Contract Courses during a particular summer.


Approved Leaves and Voluntary Withdrawals

A student may choose to take time away for medical, psychological, or personal reasons. Such leaves require the approval of the Dean of Students following consultation with the college physicians or psychologists when appropriate. Following two consecutive semesters of personal leave, the student will be withdrawn from the college unless the student seeks and obtains permission from the Dean of Students for one further semester of personal leave. 


A student may choose to spend a semester or year away from campus for an approved program of study elsewhere. Concerning approval, see section regarding “Transfer Credit and Study Abroad.”


A student may choose to withdraw from Davidson College. If the voluntary withdrawal occurs after the end of the second week of the semester, the transcript record preserves the courses for which the student has registered with the grade of “WA” (Authorized Withdrawal) recorded unless a possible disciplinary action is pending. Any student who withdraws is eligible to apply later for readmission, but there is no guarantee of readmission, the timing of which is determined by the Dean of Students. 


All withdrawals, voluntary or involuntary, are processed through the Office of the Dean of Students. The Business Services Office shall inform students of all financial adjustments and/or obligations related to withdrawal actions, voluntary or involuntary. 


Reviews and Examinations



            Reviews are announced tests that cover several class periods and constitute one

phase of regular evaluation for grading purposes. They are announced at least one week in advance of their administration.


A student must obtain the permission of the instructor to postpone and make up reviews during the semester.



An evaluation of each student’s work at the end of each course will normally include a written final examination of no more than three hours in length covering the work of the entire semester. Other types of evaluation may be employed, such as: a) oral final examinations to be completed before the end of the examination period; b) take-home final examinations to be completed during the examination period; or c) major papers and research projects completed by the end of the examination period. 


Apart from the exceptions noted above, examinations are to be given only on the days designated as examination days unless another time has been approved by the Dean of the Faculty. There should be no for-credit assessment, exercise, or activity (e.g., juries, thesis defenses, oral exams) on Reading Day. Procedures for the examination period, following guidelines approved by the Faculty, are published by the Registrar. 


All written work except that which is part of the final examination or replaces a written final examination shall be due no later than the end of the last official class hour of the semester. Exceptions must be approved by the instructor, who must also notify the Dean of the Faculty.


The instructor of the course may authorize a student to postpone an examination for cause (medical or similar) only upon recommendations of the Dean of Students. The professor will assign a grade of Incomplete and arrange with the student a procedure for making up the examination, with the assistance of the Registrar or Dean of Students if needed. 




            Grades and Grade Reports

During the first week of each semester, each instructor supplies to the members of each class a syllabus, including course content and schedule, attendance policy, a statement of the grading procedures, including relative weights of the different factors contributing to the final grade, and the type of final examination. A copy is filed in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. 


Each instructor reports grades to the Registrar at the end of each regular semester. 



Regular grades are issued as follows:

Grade              Grade points

A                     4.0

A-                    3.7

B+                   3.3

B                     3.0

B-                    2.7

                                    C+                   2.3

C                     2.0

C-                    1.7

D+                   1.3

D                     1.0

F                      0.0


There is no institutional percentage standard or equivalent for these letter grades.


Academic credit is authorized for any regular course completed with a grade of  “D” or higher; credit may be received only once for a course. A student who withdraws from a course without authorization or who incurs excessive absences as determined by the professor will receive an “F” in the course. 


            Special grades are issued as follows:

                        Grade              Definition

                        I                       The instructor gives a grade of “I”  (Incomplete) to a student who

                        for a valid reason is unable to complete a substantial portion of the

work of the course. If the uncompleted work is the final examination, the approval of the Dean of Students is necessary; otherwise, the determination of a “valid reason” rests with the instructor. A grade of “I” must be removed by the instructor’s submitting the new grade to the Registrar no later than 14 days prior to the first day of classes of the fall semester of the next academic year following the awarding of the grade of Incomplete. After this date, the grade of “I” shall be changed to a grade of “F”. In order for a senior to graduate at the May commencement, all of a student’s Incomplete grades must be removed by the beginning of the spring examination period. 


                        LA                   Laboratory-ungraded


                        P or F1            A student successfully completing any course under the provisions

of the Pass-Fail option receives a grade of “P” (Pass); for failure, defined as any grade lower than “C-“, the grade “F1” will be given. Pass-Fail grades are not computed in the student’s grade point average. 


                        WA                 Authorized Withdrawal (“WA”) is given to a student who

            withdraws officially from a course or courses in two instances. In

both, the grade of “WA” is reserved for withdrawals during a semester and not to be granted after the semester has concluded.


A student seeking an Authorized Withdrawal on the basis of serious health, family, or personal problems consults with the Dean of Students. If the Dean of Students office finds the Authorized Withdrawal grade warranted, the Registrar and the professor are notified.


A student seeking an Authorized Withdrawal on the basis of a serious educational consideration consults first with the professor teaching the course and the student’s adviser, then with the Dean of the Faculty. It should be noted that such educational considerations are highly unusual, typically involving inappropriate registration in a course for which the student has insufficient background. Poor academic performance, excessive workload, or change in academic or career plans do not qualify as justifying an Authorized Withdrawal. If the Dean of the Faculty finds the Authorized Withdrawal grade warranted, the Registrar and the individual professor are so notified. 


UG                  Ungraded Credit in Davidson’s Study Abroad Programs or

transferred from another institution and representing work deemed to be at the level of “C-” or higher. [Note: “UG” grades are not computed in the grade point average and do not count against the allowable total of Pass-Fail grades.]


NG                  No grade received from the instructor.


            Grade Appeals

                        Grading is a matter of professional judgment and is the responsibility of the

course instructor. Questions concerning the reasonableness of grading should be addressed first to the course instructor. If after consultation with the instructor the student believes that a final grade has been unfairly determined or that considerations other than professional judgment have influenced the grade, petition should be made to the chair of the instructor’s department. If after conferences among the instructor, the student, and the chair there is still disagreement, an appeal may be made in writing to the Dean of the Faculty, who will attempt to resolve the matter or, failing that, refer it to the Faculty Executive Committee. Notice of appeal to the Dean of the Faculty must be made no later than the end of the sixth week of the academic semester following the semester in which the grade was assigned. The decision of the Faculty Executive Committee is final.




Computing Grade Point Averages

Grade point averages for all students are computed at the end of each semester. To compute overall grade point averages, the number of grade points is divided by the number of graded courses taken, including repeated courses. Grades of “I,” “LA,” “WA,” “UG,” and “P/F1” do not affect a student’s grade point average. 


Repeated Courses

When a course is repeated, the student loses credit from the first attempt, but both grades remain on the record and both are used in determining the cumulative GPA. For the computation of the major grade point average, when a course is repeated, only the most recent grade counts.


Pass/Fail Option

A student may elect to take no more than three courses Pass/Fail, with no more than one in any semester. Courses designated as Pass/Fail by a faculty member or department do not count towards the three-course maximum, nor do transfer courses (which are ungraded, not Pass/Fail).


Pass is defined as performance at the level of “C-” or higher.


A student may elect to designate a course Pass/Fail up until the end of the ninth week of the last semester of his or her senior year, whether the course is one in progress or one in which a grade already has been recorded. Such designation is made through the Registrar’s Office.


Once a course has been designated Pass/Fail, the designation may not be reversed.


A student may only pass/fail D or D+ grades, which result in a loss of course credit, if the student is ahead of normal progress in regards to graduation.


Pass/Fail courses may be used to fulfill all requirements except that they do not satisfy requirements in a major, minor, or interdisciplinary minor. A major or minor department or the advisory committee of an interdisciplinary minor may make individual exceptions to this rule and may elect to set conditions on such an exception.


A student may not designate a course Pass/Fail if a final grade of “F” has been assigned as the result of an Honor Code sanction.


Minimum Academic Requirements

General Regulation

Any student whose academic work is unacceptable may be required to withdraw from Davidson College at any time by the Faculty Executive Committee.


Standards of Progress for Entrance to the Sophomore Class (or the Third Semester) Please note that financial aid eligibility requirements include enrollment in no fewer than three courses each semester.

Seven courses (five for students actively registered for Davidson College courses in both fall 2020 and spring 2021), including the writing requirement, and a cumulative grade point average of 1.60. A student with a cumulative grade point average below 1.60 at the beginning of the first semester of the sophomore year will be placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation receives special advising services through the Dean of Students Office and the academic adviser. 


Standards of Progress for Entrance to the Fourth Semester (or the Second Semester of the Sophomore Year)

A student with a cumulative grade point average of 1.7 or below at the end of the third semester must immediately make an appointment in the office of the Dean of Students to assess clearly steps necessary to achieve the average of 1.8 required for entry into the junior class (fifth semester). Advisers will receive notification indicating the requirement of such a meeting.


                        Standards of Progress for Entrance to the Junior Class (or the Fifth Semester)

15 Courses (13 for students actively registered for Davidson College courses in both fall 2020 and spring 2021), including at least five of the Ways of Knowing Requirements, and declaration of a major, and 1.80 cumulative grade point average.


                        Standards of Progress for Entrance to the Senior Class (or the Seventh Semester)

For May graduation, 24 courses; for August graduation, 22 courses.


The Curriculum Requirements Committee specifies standards of progress for students whose records are irregular and who do not fit the requirements for one of the above categories.


Low Achievement

            Except for the final semester prior to graduation, when only regulations regarding

            graduation requirements apply, a student who fails to complete all his or her

            courses during any single semester with a grade point average of at least 2.0 will

            be contacted by the Dean of Students Office. Advisers will be notified as well.


            Failure to Meet the Minimum Standards of Academic Progress

            Deficiencies existing at the end of any academic year may be made up through a

            summer contract course with a Davidson College faculty member or through

            approved transfer credit. Note that transfer credits do not affect the grade point



            If the deficiency is not made up prior to the beginning of the fall semester, the

            student is withdrawn and not eligible to return for that semester.


Involuntary Withdrawal

            A student may be required to withdraw for academic deficiency, or by the

            Faculty Executive Committee, or by the Student Honor Council, or by the

            Dean of Students for behavior inconsistent with the Code of Responsibility. A

student required to withdraw shall be informed of the conditions that must be met before application for readmission will be considered. The Business Services Office shall inform students of all financial adjustments and/or obligations related to withdrawal actions.


Academic penalties assessed for infractions of the Honor Code may include a failing grade in one or more courses whether the student is required to withdraw or not.


Readmission after Involuntary Withdrawal

No student who has been required to withdraw is guaranteed readmission. When a student who has been required to withdraw for academic reasons expresses a desire to be readmitted to Davidson College at a later date, the Faculty Executive Committee will state the minimum conditions under which he or she may return. When the withdrawal is for disciplinary reasons, the Dean of Students will state conditions. A student required to withdraw will normally not qualify for readmission solely by earning credits at another school.




            Departmental Honors

Students with an overall average of 3.2 are eligible to be considered by their major department for an honors program as early as the spring semester of the sophomore year, but no later than the fall semester of the senior year. Students maintaining at least a 3.2 overall average and at least a 3.5 average in the major and receiving the recommendations of their major department will be graduated with Honors or High Honors in the department of their major. Each department may impose individual requirements in that department in addition to the requirements specified here.


            Graduation Honors

                        Students receive graduation honors based on cumulative GPA as follows:

                        Cumulative GPA:       3.500 - 3.749              cum laude

                                                            3.750 - 3.999              magna cum laude

                                                            4.000                           summa cum laude


                        The student with the highest cumulative GPA in the graduating class is designated

                        at Commencement as “First Honor.” If there is no tie for “First Honor,” the

student with the next highest cumulative GPA is designated as “Second Honor.”


Transfer Credit

Davidson College accepts credits from other colleges and universities based upon equivalency in terms of level, content, quality, comparability, and program relevance to a liberal arts curriculum. The following conditions must typically be met:


The college or university is regionally accredited for a liberal arts and general curriculum or has similar accreditation abroad.


The courses are consistent with the academic objectives of a liberal arts curriculum and the mission of Davidson College.


The grade earned in the transferred course must be at least a “C-” or its equivalent.


Credit by examination, with the exception of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Program, and similar programs abroad, are not accepted via transfer. This means that internships, trainings, and CLEP tests are not transferable. 


Davidson College is committed to providing rigorous academic instruction and feels learning is a process best achieved via classroom interactions between students and faculty. For this reason, students may transfer in a maximum of two online and/or hybrid courses from other institutions. These courses may be taken only during the summer and not when the student is concurrently enrolled at Davidson College. The courses also must involve ongoing interaction with instructors (not independent, self-paced modules).


The Registrar determines credit for satisfactory academic work at another college or university. Since each Davidson College course equates to four semester credits and other institutions have credit systems that vary slightly, these criteria govern: each four semester hours or six quarter hours of total acceptable transfer credit count as one Davidson course, with final fractions of one-half course or more transferable as one course. Single courses of less than three semester hours or four quarter hours of credit are not acceptable for transfer unless used as part of a larger total of transfer credits.


Limits for the amount of transfer credit to Davidson are as follows: 1) a maximum of 16 courses toward graduation and 2) no more than one half of the courses used to satisfy major requirements, and these transferred courses must be approved for major credit by the department chair.


In all instances of transfer credit, including off-campus study, the department of the major or minor determines whether a credit transferred by the Registrar counts toward the major or minor. 


Off-Campus Study

            Davidson College Programs

                        To be eligible for participation in a program of study off campus sponsored by

                        Davidson College, a student must be in good standing at the college and must

meet the personal, language, and other academic requirements of the program to which he or she applies.


Academic credit from Davidson College programs off campus appears on the student’s permanent record as ungraded transfer credit, except that in a course taught by a regular Davidson College professor, a regular grade may be given. Non-Davidson faculty-taught courses on Davidson programs appear as “P” grades.


The maximum transferable credit for one academic year in another college or university is eight courses; for one semester, four courses.


Transfer credit for foreign study is awarded by the Registrar upon the recommendation of the director of the program abroad. 


            Programs Sponsored by Other Colleges or Universities

Students may elect to enroll in a foreign study program sponsored by another college or university. The program must be approved by the Office of Study Abroad and courses must be approved in advance by the Registrar. Students may also apply directly to a foreign university for participation in a year-long or semester-long program of study. The same approval processes apply. With the approval of the Registrar and the student’s adviser, students may also enroll for a semester or year at an accredited U.S. college or university. In either case, students are considered to be on approved study leave from Davidson College. For such programs, including summer programs, regular transfer regulations and procedures apply.


Credits Earned Prior to Matriculation at Davidson

For transfer students, credit for one full year of normal academic credit at another college or university is transferred to Davidson as eight courses; credit for one academic semester as four courses. [Note: Grades of “D” or “F” and withdrawals might reduce the otherwise normal year’s credit at the former college to less than a normal year in credit acceptable to Davidson.]


Entering first-year students may transfer a maximum of four credits from courses taken prior to matriculation at Davidson. This includes AP, IB, and dual (high school/college) enrollment credits as well as courses taken between high school graduation and matriculation at Davidson.

No more than two credits attained prior to matriculation at Davidson (or, for transfer students, prior to enrolling as a degree candidate at another college) may be applied to the satisfaction of Ways of Knowing Requirements. The student may elect which two to apply in such a fashion and may change that selection as late as the beginning of the spring semester of the senior year. Selection is made or changed by official notification to the Registrar’s Office. 


            Advanced Placement Program (AP) and International Baccalaureate Program (IB)

Students who have completed college-level work in secondary school through the Advanced Placement Program and who wish to apply for placement or credit at Davidson should take the appropriate examination offered by the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Students who have completed college-level work in secondary school through the International Baccalaureate Program should take the appropriate examination. [Note: A matriculated student may not take an Advanced Placement Examination or an International Baccalaureate Examination for credit after completing secondary school.]


Based on the recommendation of the department concerned and the receipt of the official report from the Advanced Placement Program or the International Baccalaureate Program to the Registrar, transfer credit will be awarded. In nearly all cases, departmental policies stipulate a score of four or five on an AP examination, six or seven on an International Baccalaureate Examination. If a department is not attached to an AP course, the Registrar will determine transfer credit in accordance with general transfer credit guidelines.


Joint or Dual (High School/College) Enrollment

A maximum of four courses completed for credit in joint or dual enrollment programs (high school/college) may be transferred if the above-described items are met and the courses in question are not used to meet the requirements for graduation from high school or for admission to Davidson College. Transfer evaluation of courses taken prior to graduation from high school requires: 1) an official transcript from the college or university attended, and 2) an official letter from the high school principal or guidance counselor confirming that the courses were not used to satisfy high school graduation requirements. 


Transcripts, Diplomas, and Verification of Enrollment


            Each transcript will include at least the following information: courses, grades,

and credits through the most recently completed semester; date of graduation and degree, if appropriate; and transfer credit by name of institution and course titles. The Registrar establishes procedures for requesting transcripts and assesses a fee for each official transcript.



Davidson College diplomas are provided to graduating students on parchment. The diploma shows the student’s official or legal name as verified by the student during the fall semester of the senior year. A replacement diploma is provided upon written request and payment for materials and printing the name of the student as it appeared at the original issue. If a student’s name has been legally changed by marriage or court order, a new diploma may be issued upon written request, including legal proof of the change, payment of the fee, and the return of the original diploma.


Enrollment or Degree Verification

Consistent with applicable law, Davidson College will upon request provide official verification of current or past enrollment and of any degree awarded. 



Audio and Video Recording of Classes

Students may not make audio or video recordings of classes (or other organized teaching activity, such as lab sessions) without the prior express authorization of the instructor, except in cases where Davidson College is required by law to provide for recording of a class as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified student with a disability.


Davidson College’s intellectual property policy provides that it is generally the college’s policy that intellectual property such as lecture notes and course materials shall be the property of the author or creator. However, the college has a non-exclusive, perpetual and royalty-free license to use all faculty-owned intellectual property for internal instructional and educational purposes. In keeping with this policy, Davidson College prohibits the unauthorized recording of classes.


Students who wish to create an audio or video recording of a class must obtain the prior express authorization of the instructor. Qualified students with a disability should make a written request for academic accommodation to the Director of Academic Access and Disability.  The Dean of Students Office authorizes academic accommodations and will send written notifications to instructors that the student is authorized to make audio or video recordings of class.


Recordings authorized by either the instructor or the Dean of Students Office are subject to the following conditions of use:

  1. Authorized recordings will be used solely for the purpose of class notes for individual study. Students will not use the recordings or allow them to be used for any other purpose.
  2. Students will not reproduce (other than transcription solely for the student’s own use as class notes), distribute, or sell the recordings or information contained therein.
  3. Students will not allow authorized recordings to be reproduced, sold, or distributed in any manner to any other person(s).
  4. Students will destroy all recordings at the end of the course.


Nothing in this policy prohibits an instructor from agreeing to alternate conditions of use; however, a student must obtain express authorization of the instructor to use a recording in any manner not permitted by this policy.


Making an audio or video recording of a class without the prior express authorization of the instructor or the Dean of Students Office is a violation of the Honor Code. Violating the conditions of use set forth in this policy (or otherwise authorized by the instructor) is a violation of the Code of Responsibility.



[1] No more than two credits attained prior to matriculation at Davidson College (or, for transfer students, a degree candidate at another college) may be applied to the satisfaction of Ways of Knowing Requirements. 

[2] On occasion, preliminary work for an Honors Thesis may be converted to an Independent Study course and number if the student chooses not to pursue Honors; in such cases, with agreements regarding the project goals presumed already to have been made, stipulations here regarding advanced planning and registration do not apply.