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Undergraduate Dean's Office
Eugenia Chase Guild Hall
Lower Level
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: (610)526-5375
Fax: (610)526-7560

Office Hours
9am - 5pm
Monday - Friday

Withdrawing from a Course

General Information

Progress Towards Degree

General Information

After a student has confirmed her registration during the second week of the semester, she is normally expected to complete all her classes with the exception of a 5th class dropped within the first three weeks. A student may not withdraw from a course simply because she is not doing well in it, does not like it, or does not need it. However, circumstances may arise that make it unreasonable to expect a student to complete her entire course load.

A student may be permitted to withdraw from a course only when her ability to complete the course is seriously impaired by unforeseen circumstances beyond her control.  If a student experiences significant illness, a family emergency, or some other serious problem in her life that has a significant impact on her ability to complete her academic work, she should talk to her dean about whether it might be appropriate to withdraw from one of her classes.  Before making such a recommendation, the dean will want to make sure the student is making appropriate use of on-campus resources, most commonly the Health Center and/or Counseling Center, and may ask for medical documentation. Once the dean has approved reducing the student's course load, the student and dean will consult with the student's faculty to determine which would be the most appropriate course to withdraw from.

Withdrawals are also sometimes permitted if a student finds that she has been placed in a class for which she lacked adequate preparation.  In this case, she should talk to her faculty member about her situation. If the faculty member believes that no other solutions are possible, he/she may recommend withdrawing from a course. 

In all cases, withdrawal requires the consent of both the dean and the course instructor.

Because of policies regarding quantitative measures of Satisfactory Academic Progress, withdrawing from more than one course in a single semester is very rare.  Students permitted to withdraw from a second course will generally do so as part of plan to take a leave of absence from the college to address whatever issues are interfering with their ability to complete their work. 


Bryn Mawr College policy precludes withdrawing from a course after the final work for the course is due.  If the course is at Penn, Swarthmore, or Haverford and that institution has an earlier deadline, the earlier deadline applies.  For example, the deadline to withdraw from a Haverford course is the last day of classes.

How withdrawing will affect your transcript

Your transcript will include the course as part of your schedule for the semester, but instead of a grade, "WD" will appear.  The grade of “WD” will not affect your grade point average.  The course will not count towards any requirements or towards the 32 units needed for graduation.

How withdrawing will affect your progress towards your degree

In making the decision to withdraw from a course, students should talk with their deans about how to make up for the lost credit and should keep the following rules regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress in mind.

  • Full-time students are normally expected to earn a minimum of 15 units before the start of the junior year.  These units may include transfer credits and credits awarded for AP, IB and similar exams.  At the end of her second, third or fourth semester, any student who is unable to present to her dean a viable plan to meet this expectation will be asked to petition the Committee on Academic Standing for an exception.  A student who is not granted an exception may be brought to the attention of the Committee on Academic Standing. 
  • Students are normally expected to complete at least 2/3 of all courses she has attempted in any single semester and at least 2/3 cumulatively.  If a student finds herself unable to meet this expectation, she may petition her dean for an exception.  Courses from which a student has withdrawn, along with those she has failed, count as units attempted but not completed.   A student who is not granted an exception may be brought to the attention of the Committee on Academic Standing.