Normal course load is four units per semester. One Bryn Mawr unit of credit is the equivalent of 4 semester hours or 6 quarter hours. Most courses carry one unit of credit. Elementary and intermediate language courses designated as intensive carry 1.5 units of credit. There are also some courses that meet for only half the semester that carry 0.5 units of credit. In order to make satisfactory progress towards the degree, students should plan to earn at least 8 units per year.
Many students consider taking 5 units of credit in some semesters. Their motivation may be related to credits (they want to make up a missing credit; they want to graduate early), or there may simply be five classes in a certain semester that they really want to take. For most students, most of the time, taking five classes has significant drawbacks: it may lead to a decline in academic performance, limit time available for meaningful activities outside the classroom, or simply take a toll on physical or mental health. For this reason, all students are asked to consult with their dean (and major adviser) before enrolling in 5 units. Students have until the end of the third week of the semester to drop a fifth class, no questions asked. Starting Fall 2013, students may drop a fifth course through BIONIC. Complete instructions are available from the Registrar's Office.
Occasionally a student may wish to enroll in 5.5 units. A student's dean does not have the authority to permit this. Instead, a student must gain permission from the Special Cases Committee.
Even if a student enters Bryn Mawr with many credits (from AP, IB or other exams, or from college work completed before her matriculation), she is generally expected to enroll in a full course load each semester. Students with a documented disability may be eligible for a reduced course load as part of accommodations offered through the Office of Access Services. Students, generally seniors, who are enrolled in advanced courses or who face other significant demands on their time, may expect to be granted permission for a reduced course load (3 units) during one semester. Other students who feel there is good justification for a reduced course load should speak to their deans. Any student who asks permission to enroll in only three units must meet with her dean and fillout a three-course enrollment form.
In general, students are charged full tuition regardless of course load. Exceptions are routinely made for McBride Scholars.
Students who wish to have the benefit of attending a class without making the commitment to doing written work and examinations may audit a course with the permission of the instructor. Different instructors may have different policies regarding auditors, and students must follow these policies. Audited courses are not listed on transcripts.
With the permission of the instructor, a student who fails a course may enroll in it a second time. The initial enrollment and failing grade remain on the student's transcript and count towards the overall GPA.
In extraordinary circumstances, a student who receives a grade of 1.0, 1.3 or 1.7 may repeat the course after receiving the permission of the Special Cases Committee. The student would receive unit of credit for the first attempt only. However, both grades would count toward the overall GPA. With the permission of the Committee, a student may repeat up to two courses, and not more than one in any semester.
First day of classes at Penn
Dorms open at noon
Martin Luther King Day (No Classes, Haverford and Swarthmore reschedule some classes)
BIONIC reopens and PE registration begins (8am)
PE classes begin
Confirmation of Registration meetings for first-year students
BIONIC closes (5pm)
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for first-quarter classes (5pm)
Last day to drop a fifth class (5pm)
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for semester classes (5pm)
First-quarter (including PE) classes end
Spring break begins after last class
Spring break ends (8am)
Second-quarter classes (including PE) begin
Last day to add a second quarter class
Last day to drop a second quarter class
Last day to sign up for Credit/No Credit for second-quarter classes (5pm)
Preregistration for Fall 2017
Last day of classes at Penn
Last day of classes at Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore
Final examinations begin
Final examinations end for seniors (5pm)
Final examinations end for other students at noon
Dorms close at noon