[AHS] [Arts] [Eng] [ES] [IS] [Math] [Sci] [Inter] [Calendar Top] [UW Home]

Examinations and Standings

The following regulations govern final examinations and standings in the Faculty of Arts. These regulations also apply to students in part-time and special programs. Further details concerning University Examination Regulations can be found in "Examination Regulations".

Students should note that the Faculty of Arts operates under a course system in which student progress is measured by courses successfully completed rather than by years. Students who have successfully completed fewer than ten term courses are considered Year One students; those who have successfully completed at least ten term courses but fewer than 20 will be considered Year Two students; those with at least 20 but fewer than 30, Year Three; and those with 30 or more, Year Four.


Final Examinations

  1. The Faculty of Arts constitutes the examining body for all examinations. When a final written examination is required it is normally held at the end of the course. Oral examinations may be required at the discretion of individual departments. The normal time for written examinations is three hours.
  2. In all courses each student is required to submit, in such form and at such time as may be determined by the instructor, evidence of satisfactory participation in term work. The marks obtained for such work during the term may be used, in part or in whole, in determining grades. At the discretion of the Department Chair concerned and of the Dean, a student may be barred from the final examination if the course requirements are not completed to the satisfaction of the instructor.
  3. Failure to write an examination may be considered a failure to pass. A student who defaults a final examination, except for a properly certified reason, shall have no make-up examination privileges. If a student fails to write for medical reasons, a Doctor's certificate, covering the precise period of absence, must be filed in the Registrar's office within a reasonable period of time after the examination should have been written.
  4. No instructor shall be permitted to administer and no student shall be required to sit final examinations in the formal lecture period.
  5. Normally instructors may not hold major term tests in the last five teaching days of the lecture schedule in any term. Major term tests are those which account for more than 25% of the final course grade.


Grading System

  1. Normally all courses should be completed within the term in which they are offered. Letter grades are used to signify evaluation in individual courses.
    For the purpose of calculating averages, the following weights will be assigned to grades received in individual courses:
    A+   95     B+	78     C+   68     D+   58     F+   46
    A    89	    B	75     C    65     D	55     F    38
    A-   83     B-	72     C-   62	   D-	52     F-   32

    Overall standing is determined by the cumulative average of grades assigned for all courses taken at the University (at any time, whether passed or failed) while registered in a degree program in the Faculty of Arts.

    When a course is repeated, the two marks are not averaged together. Rather, both marks are entered with all other marks in calculating the student's cumulative overall average. A passed course may be repeated once with the approval of the department concerned.

  2. Students may request that their performance in any given Arts course be marked as either Credit (Cr) or Fail (F). The instructor of the course and the student's department must agree to this arrangement at the outset of the course and the student must communicate the decision in writing to the Arts Faculty Examinations and Standings Committee before the end of the two week add period.
    In satisfaction of the minimum degree requirements students in General programs may present up to six term courses with a grade of Credit (Cr) in courses outside their major. Students in Honours programs may present up to eight term courses with a grade of Credit (Cr) in courses outside their Honours area.
    Students considering teaching careers should especially note that the Ministry of Education will not accept courses with credit grades as satisfying the minimum requirements in defined specialist fields.
  3. An Incomplete (INC) may be assigned by an instructor in exceptional circumstances, with the consent of the department. This extension of completion date is granted to students as a privilege for a limited and specified time and in normal circumstances shall be no longer than three months.
    Students should make themselves familiar with the internal procedures established by their major department in handling incomplete courses. A student with outstanding incompletes on her/his record will be unable to graduate until the INC has been replaced by a letter grade, which can, in some cases, be an F-. InJsuch cases, the student must meet all graduation requirements, including grade average and number of courses.
  4. Students may request to register for Audit (AUD) in a course. No credit is granted for a course in which an AUD grade is awarded. Students interested in an Audit must consult with the course instructor at the beginning of the course to ascertain what conditions are attached to the granting of an AUD by the course instructor. Audits must be approved during the two week add period. Failure to satisfy the conditions of Audit will result in the course being dropped from the academic record.
  5. There are a number of courses in the Faculty of Arts which are essentially year courses (of two term duration) although they are listed as two separate term courses. Letter grades are not awarded until the second half of the course is complete and then the same grade is applied to both term courses. An In Progress (IP) grade is assigned to the first term course until a grade is designated for the second term course.
    The use of the IP grade is normally limited to 400-level courses which are Senior Honours Essay or Senior Seminar courses and which normally require eight months or so to complete. The grade may be used in other courses only with the prior approval of the Undergraduate Affairs Group of the Arts Faculty.
  6. A grade of WD (withdrew after the course drop deadline) may be assigned by the Arts Faculty Examinations and Standings Committee. This grade is used when it is not appropriate to completely remove a course from a student's record and not in the academic interests of the student to continue with the course.
    The WD grade has no effect on average or credit calculations.
  7. Some courses which are listed under separate labels or numbers have overlapping content. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit. These are designated with notes after the courses which would indicate one of the following:
    A student who enrols in a course which seems to have overlapping content with another course should consult with her/his Undergraduate Officer to be certain that credit will be awarded for both courses.
    The following table indicates sets of statistics or research methods courses which have overlapping content. A student in an Arts Faculty program may take only one course from each set for credit.

Set A - Basic Statistics Courses
ARCH 103*, BIOL 460*, ECON 221, ENV S 271*, 277*, 278, ISS 250R, KIN 222, PSCI 214, PSYCH 201*, 283*, 292, REC 371, 371A*, SOC 202*, 280, STAT 202, 204, 210*, 211, 221, 231
Set B - Advanced Statistics Courses
BIOL 461, PSYCH 202*, 284*, 391, STAT 205*, 304, 321
Set C - Research Methods Courses
ISS 251R, KIN 330, P SCI 315, PSYCH 291, REC 270, 270A*, SOC 281*, 321
*No longer offered


Course Load

Except for students in Joint Honours programs and Honours programs where six term courses per term may be required, the normal full-time course load per term is five term courses. Students in programs other than Joint Honours programs and Honours programs as indicated above may take six courses by permission of their Undergraduate Advisor provided that they have an overall average, which includes a minimum of ten term courses from the Faculty of Arts, of 75% or better. Students with less than 75% require the permission of the Examinations and Standings Committee before enrolling in the sixth course.


Distance Education Courses

Because of the different start dates and the different final exam periods for distance education and on-campus courses, students enrolled in full-time on-campus courses must have the permission of their Undergraduate Advisor to register for a distance education course.


Part-Time Studies

Students may pursue degree studies part-time (in most General and Honours programs) by enrolling in one or two regularly scheduled courses meeting in either the day or evening. In addition, courses may be taken in the six week summer program or by distance education. A number of programs are available by distance education (see the University of Waterloo Distance Education Calendar). There is no distinction between part-time and full-time students as to admission requirements, grading practices, or promotion policies.



  1. The minimum criteria for good standing in Year 1 Honours Arts is the completion of four courses at the University of Waterloo with a minimum cumulative overall average of 65%. In programs like Year 1 Applied Studies, Accounting and SDS, good standing will continue to be defined according to the average requirements of the program.
  2. To be considered in good standing in a General program, a student must maintain a cumulative overall average of at least 60%, as well as an average of at least 65% in all courses taken in the Major discipline (unless the department specifies a higher average). If a student's overall average falls between 58 and 60%, or the major or non-major average falls below 65% (unless the department specifies a different average), the student may be granted conditional status for one academic term. During this period the student must make reasonable progress toward obtaining good standing or the student will be required to withdraw from the Faculty of Arts.
  3. To be considered in good standing in an Honours program, a student must maintain a cumulative overall average of at least 60%, as well as an average of at least 75% in all courses taken in the Honours discipline (unless the department specifies a higher average). AJstudent in a Joint Honours program must maintain a cumulative average of 75% in all courses taken in the two Honours disciplines (unless the departments specify other averages).
    If an Honours degree candidate's major average falls below the prescribed minimum the candidate will be considered for the General degree and the regulations in (1) above will apply. If, subsequently, the student raises the average to the required level, he/she may, through the Department Chair, petition the Examinations and Standings Committee to review her/his case.
  4. Even while otherwise in good standing, a student who fails four or more term courses in any academic year (ten term courses or fewer) may be required to withdraw if the Examinations and Standings Committee considers that the student will not profit by further study.
  5. A student who has been required to withdraw for academic reasons is eligible to apply for re-admission after an absence of two terms. If such a student is re-admitted, previous course work does not count in the cumulative average; however, all previous course attempts remain recorded on the student's University transcript.
  6. Students whose cumulative average(s) has been cleared as in (5) above will be required to complete a minimum of ten additional courses whether or not this will bring the total number of courses in excess of the number required.
  7. Those students who voluntarily withdraw prior to or during the full refund period will not have the term recorded on their academic record and transcript. After these periods, students who voluntarily withdraw before the final day of classes, do so without Academic Penalty. However, this will be noted on their transcripts with the statement "Voluntary Withdrawal From Term (effective date) - No Academic Penalty". Students who withdraw to avoid a number of failures will likely be ineligible for re-admission for at least two terms. See "Fees and Registrations" for details.


Dean's List

To recognize outstanding academic achievement the Arts Faculty has established a Dean's List. To be eligible for the Dean's List a student:

When a student receives Dean's List standing, it is noted on the transcript. Students who graduate with the Dean's List designation will have it noted on their diplomas.


Appeal Procedures

If a student wishes to appeal a grade, academic status or standing, the student should (as soon as possible and at the latest within six months of receipt of the grade or decision) try to work the matter out informally with the instructor, officer or University authority concerned. If the problem cannot be resolved in this way, the student may submit a Request for a Formal Review to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs of the student's faculty of registration. Students registered through a church college should submit the appeal through the Dean of the College.

Whether or not a student wishes to proceed informally or formally, advice and assistance may be secured either from the office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, Registrar's Office, University Secretariat, and/or the Ombudsperson.

See the Student Grievance Policy (UW Policy #70) for more details.


Petition Procedures

A petition should be used in those instances where a student seeks relief from normal Faculty or University rules and regulations because of special circumstances such as illness or bereavement.

Types of requests include requests to drop or add courses after the deadline; withdraw without academic penalty; take a course at another university; take an additional course above the specified maximum for a program; substitute for a required course; or reconsider an academic decision.

A statement from a physician, counsellor, etc., must accompany all petitions based on health related grounds. Similarly, an employer's statement is required for petitions based on work commitments, etc.

Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations forms are available at departmental undergraduate offices, the Arts Faculty Undergraduate Office and the Registrar's Office.

[AHS] [Arts] [Eng] [ES] [IS] [Math] [Sci] [Inter] [Calendar Top] [UW Home]