Academic Policies, Procedures & Forms (undergraduate)

Below is a list of questions that we frequently hear from students, organized by topic. Browse the list and see if your question is there. If not, or if you’re still unsure, please visit or contact the Office of Academic Affairs.

    • How many credits do I have to take each semester to be a full-time student?
      12 credits
    • My advisor hasn’t released the hold so I can register, add or drop a course. What should I do?
      Find your faculty advisor and ask him/her to release the hold.
    • My advisor needs to sign my add/drop form and I can’t find him/her. Can you sign the form for me?
      Add/drop forms cannot be signed by anyone in Academic Affairs. You must find your faculty advisor. If you are a BME student, BME staff in Clark 318 may sign your form as long as your have email back-up from your faculty advisor.
    • I want/need to overload (credit limit for freshmen 18 cr, for soph, jr,sr 19 cr). How do I arrange this?
      All engineering undergrads must request permission to overload from Academic Affairs. No permission will be granted to freshmen for the first semester. After first semester grades have been received in Academic Affairs (mid January), you can request an overload. Other students can request an overload during the registration process. Overloads are evaluated on an individual basis by Academic Affairs.
    • I am adding a course after the 2nd week of classes. Do I need the instructor’s signature on my registration form? Who else needs to sign?
      You need an instructor’s signature and the signature of your faculty advisor.
    • I just want to change sections in one class. Do I need signatures for that?
      No signature is required.
    • What does it mean to have a ‘W’ on my transcript?
      A ‘W’ means that you withdrew from the course after the 6 week add/drop deadline.
    • I registered for Calculus II (any sequential course) this semester, but I got a D in Calculus I. What should I do?
      Check with your faculty advisor. Most sequential courses require a minimum grade of C- in order to continue with the next level. Retaking a course you got a D in will also improve your GPA (assuming that you earn a higher grade the second time).
    • I need to withdraw from a course, but then my credit total will be below 12 credits. Is that a problem?
      Yes, you must be enrolled in 12 credits to be considered a full-time student.
    • When I try to register, the screen says “financial hold.” What does that mean?
      Check with Student Accounts, 31 Garland Hall. You will need a signature from Student Accounts to be able to register.
    • My faculty advisor’s office is at the med school. How do I get his signature on my registration form?
      You can hop on a shuttle bus and make the trip to the Med School. Or check with BME staff in Clark 318. It may be possible to get a signature in the BME office, as long as you have the appropriate email back-up.
    • How do I declare or change my major? Here’s the procedure to declare a major or change a major?
      Complete a “Change of Advisor and/or Major” form.
    • Take the form to your new department to request a faculty advisor from the Undergraduate Advising Coordinator. Make sure you get contact information (e-mail, phone, office location, lab location) for your new advisor.
      Return the form to Academic Affairs
    • What is the procedure for declaring a second major in WSE? in Arts & Sciences?
      To declare a second major in WSE, follow directions in answer 1 with the following exception. Return the form to the Registrar, rather than to Academic Affairs.
    • What is the procedure for declaring a minor in WSE? in Arts & Sciences?
      Contact the Undergraduate Advising Coordinator in the minor department (WSE) to get an advisor.
    • If I change my major to Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, or Chemical Engineering after my freshman year, I will not have taken the freshman course (Freshman Experiences in Mechanical Eng, What is Eng?) required by the department. Does that matter?
      Talk with your faculty advisor. The department may require you to take the freshman course or substitute another course for the one you missed.
    • I would like to have a different faculty advisor. Can I request another advisor?
      Yes, you can, although being assigned a new advisor will depend on faculty availability. Contact the Undergraduate Advising Coordinator in the department. We’ll be happy to discuss this option with you.
    • I took a course S/U because my previous major allowed that. My new major requires that the course be taken for a grade. Can I change the course from S/U to graded?
      It is possible in this particular situation to make the change from S/U to graded. Come to Academic Affairs for help.
    • If my first semester grades are covered, what difference does it make what I get?
      There are lots of reasons why it’s important to do well academically in your first semester at Hopkins. First, because performing well is a habit, you need to practice skills from the very beginning which will lead to success. Go to class, hand in assignments, establish good study routines. Second, as an engineering student, you are taking basic courses on which you will build future classes. For example, getting a D in Calculus I will prevent you from taking Calculus II in the second semester. This sub-par performance can mean that you will need to take classes during the summer, or even that your graduation ends up being delayed. Don’t put yourself in this precarious situation!
    • How can I find out what grades I earned in my first semester?
      You may view your first-semester grades in SIS self-service.
    • I’ve heard my RA say that freshmen grades are pass/fail? But Engineering 101 uses the term “covered grades.” I’m confused.
      The term “covered grades” refers to freshman first-semester grades. You will receive “real grades” in your first semester classes. Those grades will then be masked by an S, a UC or a U. The grade notation S is used for courses in which you earn grades of A,B, or C. Grades of D or F are covered by UC or U.
  • Students who enter the university from high school may transfer up to 12 credits from approved courses taken at other institutions, whether taken before or after matriculation. The grades earned in these courses do not appear on the Hopkins record and therefore do not contribute to the Hopkins grade point average. The 12-credit limit on transfer credits does not include credits from Hopkins summer courses, Advanced Placement examinations, British General Certificate of Education courses, International Baccalaureate courses, or other foreign certificate courses.

    Procedures for transferring college credits completed prior to enrolling at Hopkins (applicable to students enrolling fall 2014)

    Send an official college transcript to the Engineering Advising Office at:

    Johns Hopkins University
    Office of Engineering Advising, 103 Shaffer Hall
    3400 N. Charles St.
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    ATTN: New Student Transcripts

    Send a detailed course description or course syllabus (preferred) to the Engineering Advising Office or email to If the subject is math or chemistry, a course outline of each topic covered is required


    Procedures for transferring college credits completed prior to enrolling at Hopkins (applicable to students enrolling fall 2013 and earlier)

    Download the College Courses Information Form.

    Return the form approved by the high school guidance counselor to:

    Johns Hopkins University
    Office of Engineering Advising, 103 Shaffer Hall
    3400 N. Charles St.
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    Send an official college transcript to the Engineering Advising Office.

    Send a detailed course description or course syllabus (preferred) to the Engineering Advising Office or email to If the subject is math or chemistry, a course outline of each topic covered is required.


    • How can I find out what credit I will receive for my AP tests?
      Go to Undergraduate Academic Manual and search for AP scores.
    • I’m a freshman. I had my AP score report sent to Hopkins. How can I be sure that it has been received?
      Check with Academic Affairs to see whether the score report was received from Admissions. Score reports are usually sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in July and then forwarded to Academic Affairs.
    • I took the General Certificate of Education, International Baccalaureat. Can I get credit for these tests?
      Go to Undergraduate Advising Manual and search for General Certificate of Education (GCE).
    • I took the Abitur, French Bac. How do I get credit?
      You can work with the appropriate department to gain credit for these exams. Often you will need to bring materials such as course descriptions or lab notebooks so that the level of your work can be individually evaluated. A written memo from the department, including the number of credits awarded, must be sent to Academic Affairs.
    • If I get credit for the AP Calculus BC test (8 credits), how does that affect courses I have to take for my major?
      When you send your AP score report to Hopkins, you receive academic credit for certain scores which becomes part of your Hopkins record. The assigned credits and appropriate designator can be used to fulfill requirements for your degree. For example, getting a grade of 4 or 5 on the BC Calculus exam means that you have 8 credits of math, equivalent to 110.108 and 110.109, and N distribution credit. If the math requirement for your major is 22 credits, you still need 22 credits.
    • What is the difference between getting AP credit and having Calculus I waived?
      Getting credit for an AP exam means that those credits are part of your Hopkins academic record. If you took the placement exam, did well enough to begin with Calculus II, but did not take the AP exam, your Hopkins transcript would say Calculus I waived. No credit is awarded for a course that is waived. If the requirement for your major is 22 math credits, beginning with Calculus II would mean that you received no credit for Calculus I. It is likely that you would have to take additional math credits at a higher level.
    • Why doesn’t Hopkins give credit for English, History AP exams?
      Academic departments make the decision as to whether the AP exam should be awarded credit at Hopkins.
    • When I started at Hopkins I couldn’t get credit for AP Bio. Now I am a senior and I could use those credits. Is there any way I can get credit now?
      Currently students who receive a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam can receive credit. Credit can be awarded retroactively upon request. Check with Academic Affairs.
    • I didn’t know Hopkins gave credit for AP Statistics so I didn’t take the test in high school. Can I go back to my high school this spring and take the test?
      You must take AP tests during high school. You can’t go back to take the test once you are a Hopkins student.
    • I’m a senior. I just realized that I need credit from the AP Calculus AB I took in high school in order to graduate this spring. Is that possible? How?
      Call ETS and have them send a score report to Academic Affairs.
    • How and when do I apply for graduation?
      Complete the “Application for Graduation” form which you receive in your spring registration packet in your junior year. Or you can pick up a copy of the form in the Office of the Registrar. Return the completed form to the Registrar.
    • Who decides whether or not I have met the requirements for my major?
      The decision to clear you for graduation is made in your major department. If you also have a second major, a transcript will be sent to that department to clear you for that major.
    • Can I graduate with a GPA below 2.0?
      You must have a 2.0 in your major. Check with your department since some departments allow no D credits. No more than 18 credits of D or D+ can be applied toward the minimum credit requirement.
    • I am registering for my last semester at Hopkins. Since I only need 2 courses to complete degree requirements, I want to register for only those 2 classes.
      You must be a full-time student in your final (8th) semester at Hopkins. If your final semester is your 9th or 10th, you will be allowed to enroll in fewer than 12 credits.
    • Because I changed my major, I still have 2 courses to take in order to complete my degree requirements. My family already has plane tickets and I want to walk in commencement. Is that a problem?
      In order to participate in the commencement ceremony, you must have completed requirements for the B.S. or B.A. degree. In the past the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs has permitted a student with one course outstanding, a course which can be completed during the first summer session at Hopkins, to walk in the ceremony and receive a blank diploma. Contact Academic Affairs to petition to walk in graduation.
    • How do I get permission to take more than 19 credits? I am a senior and plan to graduate this semester.
      You can request permission from Academic Affairs. Each situation is considered on an individual basis.
    • I am enrolling in my 9th semester. How many credits do I have to take?
      Since you have already completed 8 semesters at Hopkins, you can enroll in fewer than 12 credits and pay by the credit. Come to Academic Affairs for permission.
    • I am planning to complete my first major in WSE and a second major in KSAS. Can I double count my courses for the two majors?
      In some cases, you may not be able to double count the 300-level classes. You should check with your faculty adviser in the KSAS major to verify which courses you will need for the second major. Plan ahead! It is important to know exactly how you are going to apply the courses toward each major.
    • Can I stay on after graduation to complete a second major/minor?
      Yes, but it depends on how many semesters you completed before graduation.If you have completed a minimum of 8 full-time semesters at Hopkins, you can stay on to complete a second major or minor. The grades for these additional courses will not factor into your GPA. When you complete the requirements for the second major or minor, notation will be added to your transcript.If you have not completed 8 full-time semesters at Hopkins, come to Academic Affairs to discuss your particular situation.
    • Can I complete a 2nd major or minor at another university and have that be part of my Hopkins transcript?
      You can take courses elsewhere to complete a second major or minor within the following limits:Only 12 credits from another college or university can be transferred to Hopkins.You must have enrolled in 8 full-time semesters at Hopkins before graduating.
    • I plan to graduate in January. When do I get my diploma?
      You will receive your diploma at the commencement ceremony the following spring. A notation stating that you completed requirements for a particular degree will be added to your transcript in January.
    • I want to do research with a faculty member in her/his lab. Where do I find a list of available openings?
      In the past students have been successful talking directly with a faculty advisor, an instructor in a class, or a professor in the department. Do your homework before contacting the professor. Identify an area of research you are interested in.
    • Can freshmen sign up for research?
      Yes, there are no restrictions on freshman applicants. Participation in a research lab is a selective process in which you are evaluated on the skills and knowledge you can bring to the lab. The needs of the lab will be an important consideration in the decision to accept you as a member of the research team.
    • How hard is it to find a research position? Do I have to take some kind of test?
      Finding a research position is a like figuring out what college is the best “match” for you. You do the information gathering and the self assessment first. Then you find out what the options are, make an appointment to meet the faculty member, and apply for a position. There are different procedures depending on the lab, so make sure you ask what the process is for the lab you are interested in. There are no “tests” but, like applying to college, it is not enough to want to participate in research. You will be expected to make contributions to the scientific work of the lab. Washing Petri dishes is not research!
    • I know who I want to work with and he has agreed to accept me into his lab. What steps do I need to go through to sign up for research?
      The steps are:

      1. Include research as a course on your registration form or complete an add/drop form and add research as a course. The Registrar can help you with the appropriate course number. Get a signature from your faculty advisor.
      2. Complete the “Engineering Supplemental Registration Form”, get a signature from your faculty sponsor, the professor you will do the research with.
      3. Bring both forms to Academic Affairs for a signature. Make sure you have both your faculty advisor’s signature on the registration or add/drop form and your faculty sponsor signature on the “Engineering Supplemental Registration Form” before you come to Academic Affairs.
      4. Note: Your faculty advisor and faculty sponsor may be the same person or they may be two different people.
    • Can any of my professors be my research sponsor?
      Your research faculty sponsor must be a full-time Homewood faculty member. Check with Academic Affairs or the Registrar if you don’t know whether that is the case.
    • I want to do my research at the Medical School and my research sponsor isn’t full-time Homewood faculty. What should I do?
      This is not uncommon. The steps to register for research are the same as answer above. The main difference is that your faculty sponsor and your site supervisor must collaborate in terms of assigning a grade.
    • What are the credit restrictions on independent work?
      There is a limit of 3 credits per semester, with a maximum of 6 credits per academic year, June through the following May.
    • Do I get a grade for research?
      Most research is done for a letter grade. You should work this out with your faculty sponsor in the beginning. Internships receive either S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory) evaluation.
    • How many hours do I have to work for 1 credit?
      For every credit of research you earn, you will work 40 hours. How you and your mentor keep track of the time you spend in the lab should be decided when you begin your research experience.
    • I am a senior BME major. Can I use research to fulfill my senior design requirement?
      It is possible to use research for senior design. Follow the normal senior design procedure. Get details from the BME staff.No, only BME 400 level and above courses and other approved courses fulfill the requirement.
    • Can I do research during the summer?
      Sure. You need to keep in mind the limit of 6 credits per academic year, June through May of the following year.
    • Can I do research for pay rather than for credit?
      Yes, if your faculty sponsor agrees. Most of the time students work for credit, rather than for money. You need to work this out ahead of time with your faculty sponsor.
    • What procedure should I follow to make sure that a summer course at another university will transfer to Hopkins?

      Here are the steps you need to follow:

      1. Complete the “Approval Form for Engineering Students Taking Courses at Another College/University” available in Academic Affairs. You may need to submit a course description or list of topics covered to your faculty adviser and to the Physics department.
      2. Get the appropriate signatures as indicated on the form.
      3. Come to Academic Affairs for a signature.
      4. Turn the form in to the Registrar.
      5. Have a transcript sent to the Hopkins Registrar once you have completed the course.
    • I want to go to summer school at a university near my home. Will those credits transfer to Hopkins?
      Yes, if you follow the procedure outlined above.
    • I want to take Calculus II at another university. At Hopkins Calculus II is 4 credits, but at the other university it is only 3 credits. Does that matter?
      You will receive 3 credits on your Hopkins academic record. If your department requires 22 credits of math and you have credit for only 21 credits, you may have to take an additional math course to cover the deficit. Before taking the course discuss the specifics with your faculty advisor.
    • Does the grade transfer along with the credit?
      No, it is only possible to transfer the credits. Only courses with a grade of C or better will be transferred.
    • I took a college course during high school. Can I transfer it to Hopkins?
      Yes, you can, as long as the course was taken on the college campus and not at your high school.
    • Can I take courses at a community college during the summer?
      Once you have started at Hopkins, you can’t take courses at a community college and transfer them to your Hopkins academic record.
    • I didn’t have time to complete the “Approval Form for Engineering Students Taking Courses at Another College/University”. Can I still get credit for the course I already took?
      Contact Academic Affairs to see if it is possible to transfer the credits after the fact. You will need a course description for the course you took. You must have an official transcript sent to Academic Affairs, 126 NEB.
    • How many courses can I transfer to Hopkins from another college/university?
      Only 12 credits from another college or university can be part of your Hopkins academic record.
    • Can I take a course S/U at another university and transfer the credit to Hopkins?
      The course must be taken at a four year college or university and a grade of C or better must be earned. No credit will be transferred for S/U or pass/fail courses unless the other school states in writing that the mark represents a grade of C or better.
  • Private instruction in Voice, Piano, and Orchestral Instruments is offered on a space-available basis at the Peabody Conservatory. These lessons are normally 30 minutes in length, are given in 13-week segments in the Fall and Spring semesters, and earn a grade and one academic credit. Advanced students may be accepted for hour lessons which earn two academic credits upon recommendation of the instructor. A fee is charged for these lessons.

    Auditions take place during the first two weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters. Repertoire for auditions is as follows:

    • One or two pieces of the student’s choosing, showing the current level of development on the instrument. Memorization is not required.
    • Sight-reading, scales, arpeggios or etudes of the instructor’s choosing.

    Please note, completion of the Peabody Registration Application and audition DO NOT guarantee you acceptance for lessons at the Peabody Conservatory. Typically, accepted students have been playing an instrument or singing for a number of years and have received formal training.

    Procedures for Private Lessons Registration

    1. Download the Peabody Initial Enrollment form.
    2. Return the form DURING THE SUMMER to the Office of the Registrar:Johns Hopkins University

      Office of the Registrar
      Attn: Peabody Initial Enrollment Form
      Garland Hall, Suite 75
      3400 N. Charles St.
      Baltimore, MD 21218

    3. When you arrive at Johns Hopkins, obtain a blue Interdivisional registration from our Registrar’s Office or the Engineering Advising Office to bring to your audition. The instructor should sign the form indicating which course(s) are to be taken, along with the credit amount (one credit is for half hour lessons and two credits are for one hour lessons). Please be advised that there is a fee associated with taking lessons.
    4. Students are notified of auditions by e-mail or telephone.
    5. Students who are not accepted for lessons in the Conservatory may be referred to the Peabody Preparatory, which offers non-credit instruction and provides a discount for students for the Johns Hopkins Divisions.
    • I got a B- in a course at Hopkins and I want to retake the course. Can I do that?
      Only grades of C+ or lower are eligible to be repeated at Hopkins. You cannot absolve a grade of B-.
    • What happens on my transcript if I retake a course I got a ‘U” in during my first semester?
      The U will be replaced by an R and only the new grade will factor into your cumulative GPA .
    • Can I absolve a grade in a Hopkins course by retaking it at another university?
      No. Retaking the course at Hopkins is the only way to absolve a poor grade.
    • What is academic probation?
      Academic probation is a warning that you are not meeting the university academic expectations. You are expected to earn a 2.0 term GPA and complete at least 12 credits every semester. If your GPA is below 2.0 for a semester, or you complete fewer than 12 credits, you will be placed on academic probation for the following semester. If your term GPA for that semester is a 2.0 or better and you complete at least 12 credits, you will be removed from academic probation and return to good academic standing. If your term GPA is below 2.0 or you complete fewer than 12 credits for a second consecutive semester, you will be academically dismissed from the university.
    • I’m a freshman and have covered grades, so I can’t be placed on academic probation.. Right?
      Not correct. The Office of Engineering Advising is responsible for reviewing the academic records of all undergraduates to ensure that students are making satisfactory progress and meeting University standards. Although the academic transcripts of first semester freshmen show only grades of S, UCR, and U, letter grades are assigned by professors and a grade point average is computed. If you do not earn a GPA of 2.0 and complete at least 12 credits for the semester, you will be placed on academic probation.
    • How do I find out if I am on academic probation?
      A letter will be sent to you via email and to your permanent home address.
    • How do I get off academic probation?
      Complete the following semester with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and complete at least 12 credits.
    • Under what circumstances can I take a Leave of Absence? How do I request a Leave?
      A Leave of Absence is considered to be an interruption in your studies for a specific period of time. To initiate a Leave of Absence, send a letter to Janet Weise, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs (, requesting a Leave of Absence for a semester or whatever period of time you plan to be gone. You may say that the Leave is for personal reasons or you may disclose the specific reason. Your parents will also need to write a letter supporting your request. If the basis of your request for a Leave of Absence is physical or mental health concerns, you should contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life at 410-516-8208.
    • Do my parents need to know?
      Yes. A letter of acknowledgement from your parent/guardian is required for the Leave to be granted.
    • Can I go to another university while I am on LOA?
      No. Students who are on a Leave of Absence from Hopkins may not take courses at another university to be transferred to their Hopkins academic record.
    • I took a Leave for the fall semester. While I was gone I realized that I needed to extend my Leave. What should I do?
      You will need to request an extension of your Leave of Absence in writing in the same way you initiated it. A new letter of acknowledgement from your parent/guardian must also be submitted.
    • Can I take a Leave of Absence as an international student?
      You can request a Leave of Absence in writing from Janet Weise, Director of Engineering Advising. Check with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services about specific restrictions as a result of your Leave. As an international student, you may not remain in the United States unless you are enrolled as a full-time student.
    • I am an international student and want to participate in the Optional Practical Training. How can I set that up?
      You should work with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to verify that you meet the requirements for OPT. Request a letter from your faculty advisor.
    • I have been asked to withdraw from Hopkins because of poor academic performance. Can I stay in the United States and take courses at another university?
      As an international student, you were granted a visa specifically to study at Hopkins. If you are not enrolled in 12 credits at Hopkins, you may not remain in the country.
    • I want to transfer to another university. Does that affect my visa?
      If you decide to transfer, your visa, issued specifically for Hopkins, will no longer be valid. You should work with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to see what you need to do.
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