Registration and Courses

Student Academic Classification

Classifications are made at the beginning of the university year in August.

  • First-year students: 1–29 semester hours completed
  • Sophomore: 30–61 semester hours completed
  • Junior: 62–95 semester hours completed
  • Senior: 96 or more semester hours completed

Course Load

Sixteen hours of university work per semester is considered the normal student load. Students who are on academic probation are limited to a maximum load of 14 semester hours in fall and spring semesters.

During the one-month Winter Term, four hours of university work is the normal course load for all students.

Maximum load for any one semester is as follows:

  • Fall and Spring Semesters: 18 semester hours
  • Winter Term: 4 semester hours
  • Summer Term I: 8 semester hours
  • Summer Term II: 4 semester hours

Any exception to this policy is the responsibility of the Registrar, located in Alamance 102.

To request an overload a student must meet with his/her academic advisor. If the advisor agrees that a student may enroll for more than the maximum load, a note is sent to the Registrar's Office in person by the student. Upon receiving confirmation, the Registrar will add the overload coursework.

A student whose cumulative GPA is less than 3.0 may not register for overload hours in any term.

Course Registration

Students are expected to register for themselves during the designated registration period for each semester or term. Registration information is available online via OnTrack. Registration includes academic advising, selection of courses and payment of fees. Before registration, each student must consult with his/her academic advisor. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure all university graduation requirements are met.


The "Drop/Add Period" is defined as the period at the start of each term when students may drop and add courses to their schedule without consequence. With the exception of the fall tern, the Drop/Add Period will begin on the first day of class; for fall, it will begin the day before. After the Drop/Add Period ends, students may continue to add second half-semester courses.

When the Drop/Add Period ends, students may withdraw from courses until the midpoint of the term which is published on the Academic Calendar. Half-semester withdrawal dates are published separately on the Registrar's website. Withdrawals are indicated by a "W" on the academic transcript and do not factor into the GPA.

Auditing Courses

Persons wishing to attend certain courses regularly without doing the assigned preparation or receiving credit may do so with the approval of the Registrar. The cost is $270 for each course.

Changes in Class and Schedule

The university reserves the right to cancel or discontinue any course because of low enrollment or for other reasons deemed necessary. In order to assure quality instruction, the university reserves the right to close registration when the maximum enrollment has been reached. The university reserves the right to make changes in schedule and/or faculty when necessary.

Credit by Examination (Course Challenge)

A student may receive credit for a course not taken by demonstrating mastery of its subject matter. To challenge a course, a student must have the approval of the appropriate academic dean, the chair of the department in which the course is offered and the professor who will test the student’s mastery of the subject matter. Whenever possible, the student should consult the professor far enough in advance of the term in which the examination will be taken to determine course requirements and standards and to begin to make independent preparations. However, the student should expect no assistance from the professor other than being informed of the material to be covered on the examination. Under no circumstances shall a student be allowed to attend classes of the course being challenged. The cost for each examination is $1,012.

Withdrawing from Courses

A student may officially withdraw from any class with a “W” (withdraw without penalty) through half of the term. (A “term” includes the examination period.) The withdrawal period applies to the regular semesters, classes taught for one half-semester, Winter Term and the summer sessions. After that date a student may not withdraw. Any exception to this policy is the responsibility of the appropriate academic dean’s office.

A student who withdraws from the university, for any reason (except for a medical reason), receives grades of “W” if the withdrawal is before the designated half-term time period. A student who withdraws from the university with an approved medical withdrawal will receive a “WD.”

Independent Study

The purpose of the independent study option is to allow the student to pursue a subject in more depth than is available in a regular course. Students may engage in independent study of catalog courses, special topics, and research projects. In general, independent study is restricted to juniors/seniors, honor students, or students who need a specific course to graduate. Students will not be allowed to enroll in a course by independent study if that course is scheduled for that semester. Also, courses may not be repeated on this basis. The course requirements for an independent study should be detailed in a syllabus created specifically for each student. This syllabus is considered a contract between the instructor and the student. Within the syllabus the instructor should indicate the hours per week (e.g., 12 hours per week if 4 credit hours), assessment criteria, and work plan.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors include activities undertaken by an undergraduate student with significant faculty mentoring that (1) lead to new scholarly insights and/or creation of new works, (2) add to the discipline, and (3) involve critical analysis of the process and/or outcome of the activities. Quality undergraduate research and creative activity result in a product that has potential for peer-reviewed dissemination in the form of presentations, publications, exhibitions or performances. Undergraduate research credit can be obtained by registering for a course numbered 499 and is limited to students with sophomore, junior or senior standing and a minimum GPA of 3.0. A limit of 8 credit hours of undergraduate research can be applied toward graduation.

Undergraduate Research Projects, URP 499, are courses led faculty in the graduate programs who work with undergraduates on research projects.  Individual URP courses must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Research and will not count toward majors, minors, or core curriculuim categories unless approval has been given by the appropriate program coordinator or department chair.

Pass/Fail Elective Courses

A student may take two courses outside the major, minor and Elon Core Curriculum requirements on a pass/fail basis. Study abroad courses and Study USA may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. The pass/fail option encourages students to enrich their educational experience in subjects outside their major/minor fields and Core Curriculum requirements in which they may feel unable to maintain a desirable GPA. The decision to take a course pass/fail must be made on or before the last day for late registration (see Calendar on page 5). To take a course pass/fail, a student can get the appropriate form in the Registrar's Office, Alamance 102 or on the Registrar's website.

Repeat Courses

Courses repeated within four semesters of attendance (excluding winter and summer sessions) following the first enrollment in the course count only once in computing the cumulative GPA. In such cases, the most recent grade is counted rather than any previous grade(s) received. However, a course repeated more than once will count in the cumulative GPA each time it is repeated. A course in which an “F” was received due to a violation of the Academic Honor Code may be repeated; however, the original grade will count in the cumulative GPA. (Students receiving Veterans’ benefits should consult the VA representative.)


Because students must attend classes regularly in order to derive maximum benefit from their courses, the university strictly and fairly enforces policies governing classes, and students are responsible for knowing attendance regulations. Each department establishes its own attendance policy. If unwarranted absences occur, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs may suspend the student from the class or from the university.

Absence from Tests and Examinations

Students who miss scheduled tests and examinations without excusable reasons may not make up such assignments. Authorization to make up tests missed for excusable reasons is obtained from the professor of the class. Final exam scheduled dates and times should not be changed for individual students or classes without prior approval from the appropriate department chair. Permission to make up a missed exam must be secured from the department chair. This permission is ordinarily not given except on the basis of a medical statement.

Exam Absence and Rescheduling Policies

The university expects students to attend examinations as scheduled. Dates and times for final exams may not be changed for a class without prior approval from the appropriate department chairperson. The chair will notify the associate vice president for academic affairs of course exam modifications when they are granted.

Under certain circumstances, adjustments to the individual student's completion of final examination may be made.

Multiple Exams on One Day

If a student has three (3) exams scheduled for the same day, he/she may secure a “Change Request Form” from the Registrar’s Office or online on the Registrar's website. This change request form must be completed and returned to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes before exams.

Medical Reasons

  1. Medical Emergency Students who have completed sufficient work to complete a course but who become ill or injured just prior to or during the final exam period should contact the associate provost for Assessment and Academic operations in the provost's office (Alamance 120) to present verification. The associate provost will notify instructors of the student's situation. As soon as they are able, students should contact individual instructors to discuss arrangements for completing work. In cases where the instructor is no longer employed at Elon after the end of the semester, the student should contact the department chairperson.
  2. Medical Leave of Absence (WD) If a student has a documented medical condition that has impacted his/her ability to complete course work and will keep him/her from taking exams, the student should consult with the associte vice president for student life for a medical leave of absence, which will remove the student permanently (with grades of WD) from all classes. Students seeking a medical withdrawal must withdraw from all courses; they may not obtain a medical withdrawal from only selected courses. Students with medical withdrawals will not be permitted to complete courses.

Other Documented Excuses for Rescheduling or Missing Exams

Occasionally, a student will find him/herself in a situation that may be best resolved by not taking one or more final examinations as scheduled. Justifiable reasons for such absences may include school-sponsored representation at events, but will generally not include travel arrangements, starting a job or an internship, or participation in family events such as weddings and graduations.

  1. Missing or Rescheduling ONE exam only per semester Requests by a student to miss or reschedule only one exam during a semester must be made to the appropriate department chairperson. When the chair agrees that the reason for missing is justifiable, the student is responsible for working with the faculty member to complete the work for that course.
  2. Missing or rescheduling MULTIPLE exams in one semester Requests by a student to miss or reschedule more than one exam during any given semester must be made to the associate provost for Assessment and Academic operations. Because of the burden on faculty to revise or recreate and administer additional exams, such absences are not commonly awarded. If approved, the associate provost will notify instructors that appropriate verification has been received. Students should, as soon as they are able, contact individual instructors to discuss completion of course work.

Students who misrepresent their requests to adjust exams will be charged with violating Elon’s Honor Code.

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