Undergraduate Academic Policies and Regulations

Classification of Students




0-24 semester credits


25-54 semester credits


55-84 semester credits


85 or more credits

Academic Review Policy

Beginning with the fall semester 2002, the following system has been used to evaluate the academic progress of all undergraduate students. Using either the narrative or the table below, students can check their credits earned, cumulative grade point average (GPA), and current GPA to readily determine their academic standing. The table below lists semester hours earned (including hours in transfer) and the minimum GPA for good standing, probation, jeopardy of dismissal, and dismissal.

  1. Good Standing: Each student must have a cumulative GPA of a 2.000 or higher to be in good standing.
  2. Academic Probation: A freshman with a cumulative GPA between 1.501 and 1.999 will be placed on probation. A sophomore with a cumulative GPA between 1.801 and 1.999 will be placed on probation.
  3. Jeopardy of Dismissal: A freshman whose cumulative GPA is 1.500 or lower and a sophomore whose cumulative GPA is 1.800 or lower will be placed in jeopardy of dismissal. Juniors and seniors whose cumulative GPA is below 2.000 will be placed in jeopardy of dismissal.
  4. Dismissal: Students in jeopardy of dismissal have one semester to raise their cumulative GPA above the dismissal level. If the student’s cumulative GPA does not rise above the dismissal level and if the current semester GPA is less than a 2.500, the student will be dismissed.
  5. Readmission Following Dismissal: A dismissed student may apply for readmission after a period of one calendar year. Evidence of maturity and improved attitude toward academics and the written support of the student’s academic advisor must accompany the application for readmission. The Petition to Return form and supporting documentation must be submitted to the registrar not less than 10 days before the first day of classes for the semester of intended return. Petitions are reviewed by the Academic Review Committee on a continual basis. Approval of a petition allows the student to enroll on a conditional basis, as stipulated by the committee. The academic standing for a readmitted student will be jeopardy of dismissal. These procedures apply to students who have more recently attended Grand Valley, within five years, or students who previously attended Grand Valley, five or more years past.
  6. Due Process Through Appeal: If a student believes that his or her academic status is in error, he or she may submit a written appeal including written support of his or her academic advisor to the Academic Review Committee, c/o the registrar. It is in the student’s interest to appeal immediately if he or she intends to do so, but a student may do so no later than the first class day of the subsequent semester. All appeals will be considered by the Academic Review Committee.


Hours Earned

Cumulative GPA for Dismissal

Cumulative GPA for Probation

Cumulative GPA for Good Standing



1.500 or less


2.000 or better



1.800 or less


2.000 or better



1.999 or less

not applicable

2.000 or better


85 or more

1.999 or less

not applicable

2.000 or better

Deans List

Undergraduates who earn 12 or more grade point credits with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in any semester earn a place on the Grand Valley State University Deans’ List. (A grade of CR does not count toward the total credits required.) The deans send each student a personal letter and the honor is noted on the student’s permanent record.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors will be based on the cumulative grade point average, including the final semester. The following scale is in effect for bachelor’s degrees awarded Fall 2017, Winter 2018, and Summer 2018:

Summa cum laude: 4.000
Magna cum laude: 3.882-3.999
Cum laude: 3.782-3.881

Cut-off points are determined based on the distribution of GPAs for baccalaureate graduates in the previous calendar year (e.g. 2017-2018 cut-off points are set by examining final GPAs from 2016 graduates). Summa cum laude requires a GPA of 4.000. Magna cum laude requires a GPA above the previous year’s 95th percentile (but below 4.000).Cum laude requires a GPA above the previous year’s 90th percentile (but below the magna cum laude cut-off).

Class Attendance

At Grand Valley, regular class attendance is considered an essential part of the students’ educational experience and a requirement for an adequate evaluation of student academic progress. It is believed that college students, as mature individuals, will recognize the need for regular class attendance and will comply with this requirement.

Class work missed while students are ill or away on faculty-approved business should be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor. Although makeup work will not remove the full adverse effect of the absence in all cases, faculty members will cooperate with students in their attempt to make up their loss when an absence is unavoidable. The degree of the effect upon grades will vary with the nature and amount of work missed and must be measured according to the instructor’s best judgment. In case of excessive absences, the instructor may refuse to grant credit for the course.

Student Credit Load

Most courses carry three hours of credit. To complete a bachelor’s degree in four years, a student should carry a minimum of 15 hours each semester. First-semester freshmen and students on academic probation may not carry loads greater than 20 credits per semester.

Students who elect to take an extended course load of 20 credits or more must acquire approval from the director of the Student Academic Success Center.

Withdrawal from an Undergraduate Course

A student may withdraw from a course and receive a grade of W when the completed Registration and Drop/Add Form is presented to the registrar by the end of the ninth week or dropped through self-service Banner. Students who do not withdraw before the deadline must accept a grade other than W depending on the instructor’s judgment of their performance in the course(s) and any mitigating circumstances. Students who request an exception of the withdrawal deadline due to extenuating circumstances must present their explanation of appeal attached to a Registration and Drop-Add Form signed by their professor and department chair along with at least one statement of support from the professor or department chair to the director of the Student Academic Success Center. Students should continue attending class until notification of a final decision about their appeal is received.

For additional information regarding late registration and dropping or withdrawing from classes throughout the academic year, please click on the Important Polices section on the Financial Aid website.

Advising/Degree Audit

All undergraduate programs recommend that their degree-seeking students meet with an assigned faculty advisor or advising center professional advisor at least once per year, to ensure that there is a clear understandings of program requirements. Students can view their progress toward graduation at any time by using the myPath degree audit system.

Credit by Examination

In some cases, degree-seeking students may be granted advanced placement or receive college credit by examination. Tests are available to determine levels of competence in certain subject areas. The following tests are available:

Advanced Placement Program (AP): AP is a program sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Generally, credit is granted for scores of 3, 4, or 5 but is determined by the appropriate academic department.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP): Credit is granted for subject examinations offered by CLEP; however, no credit is granted for the CLEP general examinations. Required minimum scores are available on request from the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office. Native speakers of a language other than English will not be granted CLEP or AP exam credit for that language.

Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES):
Grand Valley will accept for credit certain DANTES college-level courses and college subject matter examinations. Specifics are available upon request from the office of Admissions or the Registrar's Office. There is no limit to the number of DANTES credits that can be applied.

International Baccalaureate (IB): Credit is granted for higher level IB exam results (in most subjects). The minimum score is 4. Details of the credit granted are available from the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office.

Credit by examination in any of the noted programs has the following limitations:

  1. Examination credit will be awarded if the student has not previously registered for the course in question at Grand Valley or elsewhere.
  2. The credits, while counting toward graduation, will not be used in computing the GPA.
  3. Students must earn the last 30 credits toward their degree at Grand Valley; therefore, a student nearing graduation must get a Residency Waiver approved before the CLEP exam is taken.
  4. The maximum amount of credit by examination that may be applied toward the baccalaureate is 32 hours. This is inclusive of any combination from Advanced Placement, CLEP, and International Baccalaureate credits awarded.

Concurrent Enrollment with Michigan Community Colleges

Concurrent enrollment allows students at both Grand Valley State University and those attending Michigan community colleges to make full use of the variety of courses offered by both institutions. Through concurrent enrollment, students have more scheduling options, more choice of course locations, and many more courses available. Students may take courses at both institutions simultaneously or alternate enrollment between them. Financial aid may also be available to students who qualify.

Students must be admitted to both institutions. Students will follow the policies in place at each school they attend. Grand Valley has waived the rule that requires a student to have satisfied the MACRAO degree prior to taking their first course at Grand Valley. The benefits of the MACRAO agreement will be honored upon verification of completion of the degree. Refer to the General Education Requirements section for further clarification.


An internship is experiential learning for credit taking place outside the classroom and directed by a field supervisor and a Grand Valley State University faculty member. A student may enroll for a maximum of 15 credits of internship. An internship must be planned with a faculty advisor the semester before it takes place.


Attendance at an orientation program is required of all degree-seeking undergraduate students before their first semester of attendance. The purposes are to welcome new students, to introduce them to each other and to faculty members with whom they will be working, to administer placement testing, and to assist them in planning programs of study. The final step of orientation is the preparation of a schedule of classes approved by a faculty advisor and completion of the registration process. A schedule of the orientation dates is mailed to all new students well in advance of their term of entrance.


All new students are expected to participate in Transitions, the fall orientation program, which is offered prior to the first day of classes. This exciting program helps students meet new people, get acclimated to campus, and prepare for a successful university experience.

Degree Requirements

The following requirements apply to all undergraduate degree-seeking students:

  1. A minimum of 120 semester hours
  2. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  3. A graduation major with at least a 2.0 average
  4. A minor, if elected, with a 2.0 GPA
  5. General education requirements
  6. Cognate for Bachelor of Arts or core for Bachelor of Science degree
  7. Capstone course
  8. The last 30 semester hours toward a baccalaureate degree must be earned in Grand Valley courses
  9. A minimum of 58 semester hours must be earned at a senior institution
  10. A minimum of 12 Grand Valley earned semester hours must be included in the major (six for the minor)

1. Semester Hours Requirements
Students are required to complete at least 120 semester hours of credit for graduation. Courses taken after summer 1983 numbered below 100 do not apply toward the 120 needed for graduation.

2. Cumulative
For graduation, a student must earn a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 based on all coursework attempted at Grand Valley. Some major programs stipulate a GPA requirement exceeding the minimum. Refer to the department entries for specifics.

3. Major 
A student must elect a major in one or more of the academic units empowered to present candidates for the undergraduate degree. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the major is the required minimum for graduation. Some majors stipulate requirements exceeding the minimum. Refer to the department entries for program specifics.

4. Minor
A minor is required for select programs for graduation. Any student may choose to complete a minor. If a student chooses to complete a minor, a cumulative GPA of 2.0 is the required minimum for graduation. Some minors stipulate requirements that exceed the minimum. Refer to the department entries for program specifics.

5. General Education Requirements
Ensuring that undergraduate students receive a broad general education has been a primary goal of colleges and universities since their inception. In this era of increasing specialization and growing demand for professional expertise, it is vital that we continue to emphasize the value of general learning.

6. B.A. Cognate or B.S. Core Requirement
In addition to the general education requirements, the B.A. degree requires a third-semester proficiency in a foreign language (either a classical or a modern language) of the student’s choice. Instruction in 12 foreign languages is offered by the Department of Classics and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Placement tests are available to students with precollege competence in a foreign language who desire advanced placement or waiver of the foreign language requirement.

In addition to the general education requirements, the B.S. degree requires a three-semester sequence of courses that emphasize either natural science or social science methodology as prescribed by the major department. See the department entries for specific details.

7. Capstone Course
Each undergraduate major curriculum must include a capstone experience (generally a senior-level course of 3 credits) with four general criteria:  breadth (students must draw on several courses within their major), integration/synthesis (students combine different skills and areas of knowledge into a single experience), application (e.g., students use their knowledge and skills to examine an issue and produce a substantial outcome), and transition (e.g., students reflect on and gain knowledge and skills that prepare them to move from college to the world beyond).

8. Required Hours at Grand Valley
Graduation from Grand Valley State University requires that the completion of the last 30 semester hours toward a baccalaureate degree must be earned at Grand Valley or in Grand Valley programs and courses taught off campus by Grand Valley faculty members.

9. Senior Institution Requirement
Regardless of the number of transfer credits accepted by Grand Valley from junior or community colleges, a baccalaureate degree must include a minimum of 58 semester hours from a senior (a four-year, degree-granting) institution.

10. Transfer Hours for Major and Minor
Regardless of the number of transfer hours accepted by Grand Valley from other institutions, transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in the unit conferring the major (six for the minor).

Grand Valley State University maintains that a complete education involves more than preparation for a particular career. A career occurs in the context of a life, and a sound general education helps one “make a life” as well as “make a living.” The university therefore remains committed to assuring that all undergraduate students, regardless of academic major or intended profession, receive a broad education rooted in the arts and sciences.

The focus of our General Education Program is to provide students with an education that balances depth with breadth, the specialized with the general. The General Education Program helps students become literate in a sophisticated way in a number of disciplines, and it fosters their ability to make connections across various domains of knowledge. Such preparation will provide students with the general knowledge and skills necessary to participate intelligently in the discourses that shape local, national, professional, and global communities.

Teaching in the liberal tradition is at the heart of Grand Valley’s identity, and this focus is critical in our General Education Program. Liberal education transcends the acquisition of information; it goes beyond the factual to ask important evaluative and philosophical questions. Liberal learning holds the fundamental principles and suppositions of a body of knowledge up to inquiry, question, and discussion. It helps a person recognize the assumptions under which he/she operates and encourages the examination and questioning of those assumptions. Liberal learning begins in the General Education Program and continues through more specialized studies comprising each student’s major and minor areas of study.

Grand Valley is dedicated to making sure that our students, via their academic majors, become competent specialists in their fields of endeavor. An equally pressing priority is that our graduates also possess the marks of a generally educated person - that they will have acquired the broad knowledge and life skills that will allow them to be informed and thoughtful people. These ideals co-exist within our institution, and together they produce people who can contribute to their own well-being, their communities, their professions, and the world in which they live.

The General Education Program provides a broad-based liberal education experience that fosters lifelong learning and informed citizenship. The program prepares students for intelligent participation in public dialogs that consider the issues of humane living and responsible action in local, national, and global communities.

Refer to www.gvsu.edu/gened for more information.

Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS)

The university requires that all students take two Supplemental Writing Skills courses. These courses, which have Writing 150 with a grade of C (not C-) or better as a prerequisite, are designated SWS in each semester’s course schedule. Please read the schedule carefully, because not all sections of a multisection course are necessarily SWS sections. Those that are not designated SWS do not result in SWS credit. The SWS courses need not add to a student’s program because they may also count as courses in general education or the major. Transfer students with a MACRAO must take one SWS course (normally in the student’s major).

Courses that have received the SWS designation are not merely courses that require written assignments; they adhere to certain guidelines. Students turn in a total of at least 3,000 words of writing during the term. Part of that total may be essay exams, but a substantial amount of it is made up of finished essays or reports or research papers. The instructor works with the students on revising drafts of their papers, rather than simply grading the finished piece of writing. At least four hours of class time are devoted to writing instruction. For a three-credit course, at least one-third of the final grade is based on the writing assignments.

Students must pass the writing skills courses (Writing 150 and the two SWS courses) with a grade of C or better in each course. Students with a grade of C- or lower in an SWS course may repeat the course or pass another SWS course with a grade of C or better before graduation. Transfer students with the MACRAO must pass one SWS course with a grade of C or better.

Questions regarding the SWS program should be addressed to the University Writing Skills Committee: www.gvsu.edu/sws/. 

Frederik Meijer Honors College

Frederik Meijer Honors College students may satisfy their general education requirements through the Meijer Honors College curriculum.

Transfer Students

Students who transfer to Grand Valley with the MACRAO approved associate of arts or science degree from a Michigan public community college have satisfied the Foundations of the General Education Program and one Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) course. Transfer students with a MACRAO are required to complete the following requirements: one SWS course in their major or college and the Capstone course in that major and the B.A. cognate/B.S. core requirement where applicable. In addition, transfer students with a MACRAO must also fulfill the following general education requirements: the two-course Cultures requirement and two Issues courses.

Dual Majors

In order to have dual majors recorded on the official record, a student must meet fully the requirements of each major. Students may complete a single course and that course may be applied to both majors. Dual majors may be awarded as long as there is a minimum of 60 credits across both majors. Students need to complete requirements for both majors. When course overlap occurs students should see their advisor, who can help them obtain the proper approvals if substitution is appropriate.

Multiple Minors

For a multiple minor, each minor must contain 20 credits that are not duplicated in the other.


In order to have a minor recorded on the official record, a student must meet fully the requirements of the select minor. A minor must have a minimum of 20 required credits. The required 20 credits in the minor must also be unduplicated in relationship to the major.

Second Bachelors Degree

Under certain circumstances a student may earn two baccalaureate degrees. Students with a Grand Valley baccalaureate degree or Grand Valley students pursuing two degrees simultaneously at Grand Valley should note the following information:

  1. They must meet all specified requirements for both degree programs.
  2. They must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in residence at Grand Valley beyond that required for the first degree.
  3. A student who meets the separate requirements for each of the two degree programs but not the additional residence requirement may have both majors recorded on his/her academic record.
  4. A student holding a baccalaureate degree from Grand Valley may not modify his or her undergraduate GPA for degree by pursuing additional coursework.

Students holding a baccalaureate degree from another regionally accredited institution should note the following information:

  1. They must meet all specified requirements for a new major degree program.
  2. General education requirements are regarded as satisfied by the first degree.
  3. They must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in residence at Grand Valley.
  4. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 12 hours in the unit conferring the major (six for the minor).

Catalog Limitations and Guarantees

A student may graduate under the catalog in effect at the time of his or her initial registration as a degree-seeking student at Grand Valley or under any succeeding catalog. However, no student may graduate under the requirements of a catalog that is more than eight years old. A student cannot declare a course, program, or degree once it has been discontinued even if it existed at the time of the student’s entry.

Page last modified January 3, 2018