Rules and Regulations

Undergraduate Rules and Regulations

Official regulations regarding enrollment,  scholarship, and graduation for undergraduates in the College of Engineering of University of Wisconsin-Madison.

College of Engineering Official Regulations



New students are admitted directly to the degree program (major) of their choice or to the College of Engineering as Engineering Undecided.  Progression requirements must then be satisfied as described in Regulations 3 – 7.


To automatically progress in a College of Engineering (CoE) degree program (major) after direct admission or to switch between engineering degree programs, students must complete the following requirements after their first two semesters of residency at UW-Madison:

      1. 24 credits completed at UW-Madison. Special topics, independent study, seminar, pass/fail, and credit/no credit courses will not be included in the 24 credits except for required English as a Second Language courses.
      2. General Education Communications Part A (Comm A) requirement. If Comm A is not completed as a graded course at UW-Madison (i.e. completed through placement test, AP/IB, or transfer credit), then a liberal studies course of at least 3 credits with a breadth designation of Humanities, Literature, or Social Sciences must be taken on a graded basis at UW-Madison.
      3. Introduction to Engineering: course specified by degree program or InterEGR 170 for Engineering Undecided Students
      4. Math course sequence through Math 222 or Math 276
      5. Four core courses, required for engineering degree programs (majors), completed at UW-Madison, as defined below:
          1. Math: A minimum of two math courses numbered 217 or above; or one math course 300 level or above. If the math requirement for the degree program (major) is complete or the student has completed the calculus sequence through Math 234, then additional math courses numbered 217 or above or additional courses from the science requirement in Regulation 3.E.2. can be taken to complete the four core course requirement. Excludes Math 228, Math 473, special topics, independent study, seminar, pass/fail, and credit/no credit courses.
          2. Science: A minimum of two science courses required for engineering degree programs (majors) as defined in the table below. If the math and science requirements for the degree program are complete, then departmental engineering courses 200 level and above can be taken to complete the four core course requirement. Excludes EPD, InterEGR, special topics, independent study, seminar, pass/fail, and credit/no credit courses.
      6. Core and Overall GPA requirements must be satisfied as defined by CoE departments for each engineering degree program (major) ( All graded UW-Madison courses referenced in E.1. and E.2. above and any departmental engineering courses level 200 or above will be counted in the Core GPA (excludes EPD, InterEGR, special topics, independent study, and seminar courses).  All graded UW-Madison courses are counted in the Overall GPA. For one and only one of these core courses that a student has repeated, the more recent of the two grades will be used in the calculation of Core and Overall GPAs. Students may not be on academic probation for GPA reasons for automatic completion of first year progression requirements.

Students who do not meet the first year progression requirements to automatically progress in a degree program (major) can be considered for non-automatic progression (Regulation 4) or extension (Regulation 5).

CoE Official Regulations – Progression

Students who do not meet progression GPAs but meet all other progression requirements will be considered for progression in degree program (major). The consideration process includes review of written statement, rigor of completed courses, and grade trends.

    1. Students who will not meet progression requirements due to University of Wisconsin placement and/or assessment tests (math and ESL) will be granted a one semester extension up to their fourth semester if they are making satisfactory progress in a degree program (major).
    2. Students who do not meet the requirements in Regulation 3 may apply for a one semester extension but not beyond their fourth semester. Students granted extensions will be considered for non-automatic progression in degree program (major). The consideration process includes review of written statement, rigor of completed courses, and grade trends. Extensions will be evaluated only in cases where it is mathematically possible during the one semester extension to meet progression GPAs for intended program.

When the number of non-automatic considerations and/or applications for admission to a degree program (major) exceed the capacity of that program, progression and admission will be limited to capacity. In order to implement the University’s goals of achieving a heterogeneous and diverse student body, selection of students under consideration or admission to a program operating at capacity will be based on demographic background, written statement, rigor of completed courses, and grade trends.

Students are required to submit to the Dean’s office an application for progression for a degree program (major) or an application for an extension by the deadline. Deadlines will be posted on the College of Engineering website at and emailed to students in the College of Engineering.


    1. Full-time student: One carrying at least a minimum credit load of 12 credits. All students are expected to be full-time unless they have the permission of the Dean to be part-time. A student carrying less than the minimum credit load without the Dean’s permission will be placed on probation at the end of the semester.
    2. Part-time student: One who has the Dean’s permission to carry less than a minimum credit load (Regulation 9.F.).
    3. Semester: A term of 15 weeks minimum duration.
    4. Session: A term of less than 15 weeks duration (e.g., Summer Session or Intersession).
    5. Modular Course: A course that is offered during a semester, but which lasts less than 15 weeks.
    1. Maximum credit load: 20 enrolled credits per semester.
    2. Minimum credit load: 12 enrolled credits per semester or enrolled for one cooperative education program credit as an engineering co-op student during a co-op work period.
    3. For sessions there is no minimum credit load; the maximum credit load equals the number of weeks in the session.
    4. A student not on academic probation may freely choose to carry any number of credits between a minimum credit load and a maximum credit load.
    5. A student may carry more than a maximum credit load only with the recommendation of an adviser and with written approval of the Dean.
    6. Part-time student: A student who wishes to carry less than a minimum credit load in a specific semester for definitive reasons, e.g., a verifiable disability, or a necessity of employment or other outside obligations exceeding 15 hours per week, must request written permission from the Dean to become a part-time student. Part-time permissions must be renewed during the first two weeks of each semester. Part-time students must satisfy all regulations other than the minimum credit load. For any semester for which part-time permission is granted and the one following it, the academic status of the student is the responsibility of the student.
    7. A student on academic probation is advised to carry not more than 14 credits per semester unless repeating a course. For every three credits being repeated, the student is advised to carry not more than one additional credit beyond 14, up to a maximum of 16 credits.

Each student is responsible for arranging a course list that will permit satisfactory progress towards degree requirements and a class schedule that (a) avoids class and final exam scheduling conflicts, (b) avoids an excessively demanding final exam schedule, and (c) verifies registration in chosen classes.

Departments may specify courses as not open to students who need to complete progression requirements, or as open only to students in a specific degree program (major).

A course taken anywhere other than UW-Madison, or by independent study or resident extension, is transferable to the College of Engineering, in credits only, if it is transferable to the UW-Madison. The course counts toward graduation only if it satisfies a graduation requirement of the curriculum to which it is to be applied and only if it was passed with a grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

Grades for courses taken anywhere other than UW-Madison are not transferable, even if the credits for those courses are transferable.

Within other limits of these regulations a student may add full-semester courses only during the first two weeks of classes. (See also Regulation 19).

Within other limits of these regulations, a student may drop full-semester courses only during the first nine weeks of classes. Courses dropped after 2 days before the last day to add courses are noted on the transcript as DR. (See also Regulations 14, 19 and 22.G.)

A student may substitute courses that deviate from the requirements of a published curriculum of the College of Engineering upon the recommendation of the student’s degree-granting department and with the approval of the college governance committee.

Pass/fail is a student-option alternative way of being graded in a regularly graded course. Credit/no credit describes courses approved for two-level grading and is not a student option.

A student may change the grading option of a full-semester course to or from pass/fail only during the first four weeks of classes. (Regulation 19). These courses must be free electives. Only students in good standing may elect the pass/fail privilege.

The pass/fail agreement is between the student and the Registrar, and is not revealed to the person teaching the course. The person teaching the course submits the appropriate letter grade to the Registrar, who converts C or higher grades to S (Satisfactory), D and F grades to U (Unsatisfactory).

Courses designated as credit/no credit will not be counted in determining the number of pass/fail courses the student may elect.

A student may audit a course only if the instructor consents. Auditors are expected to attend with a reasonable regularity and to participate in the class, as determined by the instructor. Audited courses carry no degree credit, do not count in determining the minimum number of credits permitted in each term, and are not included in the calculation of the GPA. The only valid grade for audited courses is a grade of S (Satisfactory) or NR (No Report). A student may change to or from credit to audit only during the first four weeks of classes (Regulation 19).

Deadlines for sessions and modular courses are listed on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

Performance and Evaluation

Each student is expected to attend all assigned classes during the regular meeting times, and take all of the examinations for those courses at the regularly scheduled times. In the case of course or examination absences excused for a reason acceptable to the course instructor, the student is expected to make up the work within a reasonable time, and may do so without a grade penalty.

Course grades are reported by letter only; plus and minus grades are not authorized. The following grades are included in computing Grade Point Average (GPA) and Point-Credit Ratio (PCR).

Grade Grade Points Per Credit
A (Excellent) 4.0
AB (Intermediate) 3.5
B (Good) 3.0
BC (Intermediate) 2.5
C (Fair) 2.0
D (Poor) 1.0
F (Failure) 0.0


The following ways of reporting course grades are also used, and except for NR, do not affect GPA or PCR.

    1. S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) — used to report pass-fail courses. (See Regulation 13.) S is also used in audited courses. (Regulation 18.)
    2. CR (Credit) or N (No Credit) — used to report credit-no credit courses. (Regulation 17.)
    3. NR (No Report) — signifying that no grade has been reported to the Registrar’s Office — a temporary grade that must be replaced by an A-F grade; also used for a permanent grade in audited courses. (Regulation 18.)
    4. NW (No Work) — student enrolls in a course and then never attends. This means that instructor has no evidence that student ever attended.
    5. I (Incomplete) — a temporary grade (Regulation 27); EI is used for an extended incomplete (requires a Dean’s action); IN is used to indicate an incomplete in a CR/N course; PI is used for a permanent incomplete. (Regulation 28.)
    6. P (Progress) — a temporary grade used for courses extending beyond one term. The final grade determines the grade for each term and replaces P grades for the course.
    7. DR (Dropped) — indicates the course was dropped after the initial drop deadline noted on the Office of the Registrar’s website.
    8. W (Withdrew) — indicates the student withdrew from the university after the initial drop deadline on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

The final course grade may be changed only by the professor in charge of the course section, and then only to correct a clerical error in the computation or reporting of the original grade.

Grade Point Average (GPA) is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned at UW-Madison by the total number of credits attempted (excluding P-F or CR-N courses) at UW-Madison. The Point-Credit Ratio (PCR) differs from the grade point average in that it involves only those credits that count toward graduation and the related grade points. When a course is repeated, the credits and grade points earned only for the final attempt are included in the point-credit ratio.

At the end of each semester the names of all full-time students in good standing with a 3.5 or higher semester GPA and cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 will be included on the Dean’s Honor List. Students must have received no incompletes and no unreported grades. A notation of “Dean’s Honor List” and date will be entered on the student’s transcript.

Any course may be repeated at the student’s option. In the case of a required course in which the student earned a grade of D and which is a prerequisite to another required course, the student is encouraged (or may be required by departmental regulation) to repeat the course. For courses taken more than once, all grades count in the grade point computations, but only the last grade for the course is applied to the student’s point-credit ratio.

An incomplete may be reported for a student who has carried a subject with a passing grade, but because of illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student’s control has been unable to complete the final examination or some limited amount of term work. A student who stays away from a final examination without proof of being prevented from attending as indicated above will receive a grade of F, N, or U (whichever is appropriate). Even with such proof, if the term work has convinced the instructor that the student cannot pass, the grade shall be F, N, or U (whichever is appropriate).

At the instructor’s option, a course marked incomplete may be completed at any time no later than last day of class of the student’s next semester of attendance at UW-Madison, or it will lapse into a fail. An incomplete may not be removed after five years of absence from UW-Madison without special permission of the Dean. Such an incomplete remains on the record with a grade of PI and does not lapse into an F, N, or U

A student may be permitted to take an examination at other than the regularly scheduled time only with permission of the instructor. Permission will be granted only for illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond the student’s control. (Regulation 10).

In order to withdraw from the University a student should consult an advisor and must obtain the Dean’s signature for the official withdrawal. Grades of W will be recorded for courses in progress if the student withdraws after 2 days before the last day to add classes. (See also Regulations 14, 19 and 22.H.)

    1. After eight weeks of classes but prior to the last three weeks of scheduled classes such withdrawal will be approved by the Dean only for non-academic reasons or to transfer out of the College of Engineering.
    2. No official withdrawal will be granted in the last three weeks of scheduled classes. Grades of Incomplete, if justified (see Regulation 23), or F, N, or U (instead of W) will be recorded for students who leave the University during this time.

The year classification of a student is determined by the number of credits passed and the number of grade points earned, applicable to the student’s degree, as indicated by the following tabulation:

Name of Year Numerical
of Year
Grade Points
Freshman 1 0 0
Sophomore 2 24 48
Junior 3 54 108
Senior 4 86 172


For the purpose of year classification only, P-F and CR-N courses and courses transferred from another campus are assumed to have earned 2.0 grade points per credit.


A student is in good academic standing unless on academic probation or dropped.

A student is placed on academic probation when that student has, in the semester just completed,

    1. attained less than a 2.0 GPA; or
    2. passed fewer than 12 credits without part-time permission from the Dean.

Once on probation, the student is continued on probation until either removed from probation or dropped. (See also Regulations 8.A., 9.F., and 37.)

All of the following requirements must be satisfied for the removal of a student from academic probation (see also Regulation 33):

    1. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0;
    2. A GPA of at least 2.0 for the semester just completed;
    3. At least 12 credits passed in the semester just completed;
    4. A total of at least 24 degree credits passed in the two most recent semesters in residence.

See also Regulation 33.

    1. A student on academic probation will be dropped at the end of any semester for which that student has attained a GPA of less than 2.0 or passed fewer than 12 credits for a student without part-time permission from the Dean or passed fewer than 3/4 of the credits attempted for a part-time student.
    2. A student not on academic probation will be dropped at the end of any semester for which that student has passed fewer than half of the credits attempted.

A student who has been dropped for academic reasons may be readmitted by the Dean only after the student has been out of the College of Engineering for one semester.

No academic actions (probation, drop, removed from probation) will be taken at the end of sessions. (See also Regulation 8.D.).

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that graduation requirements have been met. All students should regularly consult their DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) document in conjunction with their advisor to ensure that all the following graduation requirements are being met:

    1. Have fulfilled the published graduation requirements of that curriculum, with all substitutions formally approved, and have achieved a minimum 2.0 gpa overall.
    2. Have a PCR (see Regulation 24) of at least 2.0 for those semesters and sessions containing the last 60 credits taken at UW-Madison or for all credits taken at Madison if fewer than 60.
    3. Have a departmental PCR of at least 2.0 for all courses taken in the degree-granting department that count toward graduation.
    4. Have completed at least 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering, including 15 credits of work in the degree-granting department.
    5. Have completed the last two semesters in residence in the College of Engineering as a full-time student.
    6. Have a GPA of at least 2.0 both for the last semester and also for the combined last two semesters.

Students who have earned at least 60 credits on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and whose total cumulative GPA is in the top 5 percent of the College graduating class will receive the designation “Graduated With Highest Distinction,” or if in the next 15 percent, “Graduated with Distinction.” The appropriate designation is entered as a permanent record on the student’s transcript.


The Dean of the College of Engineering has the authority to suspend or modify the operation of these regulations if their enforcement is judged to work an injustice to the student.