Spring 2021 Information for Undergraduate Students

Updated January 28, 2021

The CCAS Dean’s Office understands and recognizes you have questions and need information to make informed decisions about your personal and academic plans. We hope this page will help you navigate through the semester.

Academic Forgiveness

Undergraduate students are eligible to repeat for credit and grade forgiveness three undergraduate-level courses taken at GW in which they received a grade of D+ (1.3) or below (except if the failing grade was due to a violation of GW’s Code of Academic Integrity). With the approval of their academic advisor, a student may repeat a course under this policy at any time during their enrollment at GW; however, a course is not eligible for this policy if the student has taken a subsequent course for which the initial course is a prerequisite. The student’s registration, including the repeated course, may not exceed 18 credits in the semester in which the course is repeated; students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science may not exceed 19 credits.

Under this policy, the original grade remains on the transcript until the student repeats the course. Once the course is repeated, a permanent notation of RP replaces the grade for the first attempt of the course in the semester in which it was taken. The grade earned in the repeated course appears on the transcript in the semester in which the course was repeated. Only the grade earned for the repeat enrollment is factored into the student’s cumulative grade-point average. The grade for the repeat enrollment is the final grade for the course, regardless of whether it is above or below the original grade. In the case that a student wishes to repeat more than three courses for academic forgiveness, they must first receive approval from the chair of the department under which the course is housed.

Lifestyle, Sport and Physical Activity (LSPA) Credits

Up to 3 credits of Lifestyle, Sport and Physical Activity (LSPA) courses, taken for a letter grade starting in the Fall 2020 semester, may count toward the 120 credits required for the bachelor's degree in Columbian College. Students must earn a passing grade of D- or higher in the LSPA course for it to count toward graduation requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my classes meet?

All virtual classes will be held on the same days and in the same time bands shown in GW’s Schedule of Classes.

Are classes recorded?

All CCAS classes should be recorded and the recordings of main class sessions should be available for students registered to the class. CCAS has encouraged faculty to work with students directly to understand what challenges they are facing with connectivity for synchronous sessions.

As part of your participation in your class, you may be recorded. We have asked faculty to be sensitive to students' concerns about being recorded in a course. Some students may not want to be identified. Please speak with your faculty member about your concerns, there are options such as keeping your camera off.

Can class recordings be shared?

Classes are being recorded to ensure all students have access to course materials. Students may use recorded class sessions only for private personal use in connection with their academic program of study. Recorded class sessions should not be shared with students outside the course or used for non-course related purposes. Students who impermissibly share any electronic course materials are subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct. Please contact the instructor if you have questions regarding what constitutes permissible or impermissible use of recorded class sessions.

How are faculty approaching attendance this semester?

Faculty have been asked to be flexible about absences and understand that students may face challenges when learning from their home environments.

What should I do if I am absent because of internet disruption or other pandemic related disruption?

Please communicate with your professor as soon as possible about your situation. Main class sessions will be recorded so you can view them at another time.

What should I do if I'm in a different time zone?

Students should endeavor to attend class when it meets synchronously. If there are legitimate issues with attendance, students should work with faculty to agree upon alternative options for how the student may fulfill the participation requirements. Faculty may require students to attend some synchronous events outside of the normal class time such as a required check in with the faculty member at a time of mutual convenience.

What about office hours?

In CCAS, we’ve asked faculty to hold additional office hours that are distributed at different times of the day to accommodate students who reside in different time zones.

What are the pass/no pass policies?
  • Undergraduates will be permitted the pass/no pass grading option in a maximum of one course (usually the equivalent of three or four credits) in the spring.
  • Students seeking this option are not required to obtain formal approval or authorization. However, we realize that the option is not obvious or easy, and we believe that students who are uncertain would benefit by consulting with their faculty and academic advisors.
  • Students seeking to exercise the grading option for more than the proposed limit will need approval from their advisor and/or dean of their school, based on review of relevant and extenuating circumstances. Documentation of these circumstances may be requested.
  • In rare cases, students may request a review outside of their school or college. The Office of the Provost will have a process for such reviews.
  • For undergraduate programs that follow the university academic calendar, the online form for submitting a choice for the pass/no pass grading option will open on Thursday, April 15. The deadline for submitting a choice will be Thursday, April 29, at 5:00pm ET.
  • No changes will be permitted after submission, and no submissions will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Undergraduate programs that do not follow the university academic calendar will set their own submission deadlines and will communicate to their students these dates and the process to elect pass/no pass.
  • https://provost.gwu.edu/passno-pass-and-creditno-credit-policies-spring-2021
What is the deadline for students to choose one course for pass/no pass this semester?


The online form for submitting a choice for the pass/no pass grading option will open on Thursday, April 15. The deadline for submitting a choice will be Thursday, April 29, at 5:00pm ET.

Where can I find information about the GW Campus plan?

Please visit the Campus Advisories website for information about the GW Campus Plans.

Where can I find information about GW’s response to COVID 19?

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the GW COVID-19 website.

For students who live on campus, where can I find information about health and safety protocols on campus?

Please visit the GW Compliance website.

For students who are in residence, how will you track if a student, faculty, or staff member has come into contact with someone who has COVID-19?

We will perform on-campus contact investigations in coordination with the D.C. Department of Health contact tracing staff, via a newly established Campus COVID Investigation Team (CCIT). This will enable us to quickly identify and test potential GW community members who may be positive for COVID-19 and to clearly identify for public health authorities the individuals who have been in contact with the person. The CCIT will also serve an integrating function for data from our screening, case investigation, and related efforts.

For further information on COVID-19 compliance, visit the GW Compliance website.

Is there any information available about Summer 2021 courses?

At this time we do not know if summer 2021 courses will be in person or virtual.

I am a new international student located outside the US. What are my options if I’m unable to get a student visa in time to travel to the US, if I prefer to start from home or if current travel bans are not lifted?

You will be able to make normal progress toward the completion of your degree requirements by taking online classes this fall.

I am a new international student who plans to study in-person. What are my options?

Please contact ISO.

Can students take more than 3 courses, post-matriculation, at another institution?

No. Students may not take more than 3 courses (not to exceed 12 credits in total), post- matriculation, at another institution during their entire academic career at GW. This cap on post-matriculation credits includes any requests to “Study Away” overseas. Exceptions will not be made to this policy.

What if a student doesn’t want to take classes at GW?

You may request to take a Leave of Absence or go on Continuous Enrollment status during the fall semester. However, before you make that decision (PDF), it is critical that you meet with your academic advisor - particularly if you wish to take classes away from GW and transfer those credits back towards your degree requirements.

Will taking a semester or year off affect financial aid, scholarships etc.?

Students should check with the appropriate office to determine if taking a semester or year off will affect their financial situations. Contact [email protected] or visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance website.

Who do I contact if I feel anxious or stressed about COVID?

GW provides counseling and psychological services to all enrolled students. More information is available on the Counseling and Psychological Services website. Please keep in mind that academic policies and information are dynamic (as is the virus). When there are major updates, we will alert you, but you should stay updated with this site. You also may email [email protected] with specific questions regarding your Fall 2020 course schedule or academic planning.