Drop & Withdrawal Guidelines

DROP: Students may drop courses until the end of the 5th full week of classes through Path@Penn without instructor approval. A “drop” means the course is removed from the student’s transcript. Students are strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advisor before dropping a course. Students who are receiving financial aid should check with Student Registration & Financial Services before dropping a course, since some packages require a minimum number of credits per semester.

See the University calendar for the last day to drop a course.

WITHDRAWAL: Students may withdraw from courses until the end of the 10th week of classes. Students are required to obtain instructor approval for withdrawals. Faculty typically approve withdrawals unless there are unresolved academic integrity issues OR there is an earlier withdrawal date about which students have been notified in writing on the course syllabus. Students who do not withdraw by the deadline will be subject to the grading policies of the course. Students who withdraw from a course receive a “W” on their transcript in place of a grade. Withdrawals are not factored into the GPA.

See the University calendar for the last day to withdraw from a course.

EXCEPTIONS: Faculty may establish an earlier drop deadline which requires that students withdraw if they decide not to complete the course. This option is provided for faculty who have pedagogical reasons for doing so. For example, faculty may establish the end of the second week of classes as the last day to drop. All exceptions to University policy must be provided to students in writing on the course syllabus at the beginning of the semester.

PLEASE NOTE: Faculty who decide to establish earlier drop deadlines must take responsibility for ensuring that students receive a “W.” Because students can drop courses online without faculty approval through the end of the fifth week, it is necessary to run reports to obtain a list of the students who dropped after the course deadline but before the University deadline. These students must be re-enrolled in the course, and then administrative staff must work with the registrar’s office to withdraw students from the course. In addition, faculty are responsible for approving any exceptions to students who petition to drop, rather than withdraw, from courses with earlier drop dates. Therefore, it is advisable to consult department heads and administrative staff before setting earlier drop dates.

As a rule, faculty should not establish withdrawal dates earlier than the University deadline. However, there are cases in which faculty feel this is necessary due to the structure of the coursework (e.g., small, upper-level courses centered around group projects).

Students will be made aware of the drop/withdrawal policies and, along with faculty, will be reminded of deadlines as they approach. If students in the course do not receive graded work until after the 5th week of class, faculty should be prepared to respond to their concerns about drops versus withdrawals. Any questions may be directed to an academic advisor in the Undergraduate Division.