Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Academic Forgiveness Policy, Senate

Academic Forgiveness Policy, Senate

Topic: Academic Standards, Grades, Conduct of Examinations
Approval Authority: Senate
Approval Date: 28 April 2022
Effective Date: FW 2022-2023
Last Revised: N/A
  1. Purpose and Principles
    1. This Policy establishes the criteria for a range of academic forgiveness measures aimed at supporting students’ completion of their degree program at York through options that balance academic integrity and fairness to students. Provisions include Course Relief, Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit and the Withdrawn from Course (W) Option.
  2. Scope and Application
    1. Subject to limitations set out, this policy applies to all undergraduate students except for JD students in Osgoode Hall Law School.
  3. Definitions
    1. Attempt: In the context of this policy, attempt is defined as completed course for which a final grade has been recorded.
    2. Repeat: In the context of this policy, repeat is defined as a subsequent enrolment in a course that has been attempted.
    3. Sessional Grade Point Average (SGPA): The weighted average based on grades obtained in courses taken over a single academic session.
    4. All other applicable definitions are available in the Pan-University Academic Nomenclature.
  4. Policy
    1. Course Relief
      1. In order to support student success, eligible undergraduate students who transfer to a different major program or degree program may opt to exclude courses completed toward the prior major requirements from their Cumulative Graduate Point Average (CGPA) and credit accumulation for their new program of study.
      2. The policy is only applicable to:
        1. continuing students who have completed fewer than 84 earned credits from courses taken at York, who meet the eligibility requirements for the new major program.
        2. students returning from a Required Withdrawal or Debarment who meet the eligibility requirements for the new major program and whose request for a program change has been approved by the new program.
        3. continuing students who have transferred to a new major program and have earned fewer than 84 credits in the new program. Such students may apply to their new home program to have Course Relief apply, whereby the courses completed toward their prior major requirements will be excluded from the CGPA and credit accumulation for their new major program.
      3. Eligibility requirements for the new program may include the required high school courses. Programs may also consider and weigh students’ GPA of their courses completed at York, including a calculation of the GPA that excludes the courses completed toward the prior major requirements.
      4. The new major program will determine the effective date of the program change, which will either be the Fall/Winter or Summer sessions.
      5. Course Relief is available to a student once for a change to their major program initiated by the student while their first degree at York is in progress. Petitions for subsequent applications are not permitted.
      6. Courses eligible to be excluded from the CGPA are all major courses taken previously that will not count as major credits in the new degree program. Students are permitted to select former major courses to be counted as elective credits toward the new major program.
      7. The category of Undeclared Major is understood to be in effect the student’s major. In such cases decisions about the relevant courses to exclude from the GPA calculation will be made in accordance with this Policy, and in consultation with the new major program.
      8. Course Relief is applicable to students returning from a required withdrawal or debarment, or to students who have had a petition for waiver of a withdrawal granted. Course Relief on its own, however, does not set aside academic decisions such as debarment or required withdrawal. It is also not automatic grounds for a waiver to be granted by Petitions / Appeals Committees.
      9. When Course Relief is granted to a student returning from a Required Withdrawal or Debarment, Academic Warning or Debarment Warning will apply as follows:
        1. If excluding the courses completed toward a student’s prior major requirements does not raise the CGPA to the level required for continuing student status, the academic sanctions legislation will be applied to a returning student proceeding in the new program (with either an Academic Warning or Debarment Warning accordingly).
        2. If excluding the courses completed toward a student’s prior major requirements raises the CGPA to the level required for continuing student status, the academic sanctions legislation will not be applied to a returning student proceeding in the new program.
      10. A record of all completed courses and grades awarded remain on a student’s transcript; courses that are excluded from a student’s CGPA under this relief policy are denoted as such on the transcript.
      11. The Course Relief Policy does not apply to the following:
        1. General Education and elective courses completed in the first major program
        2. Second or subsequent program changes
        3. Course(s) in which a penalty for a breach of academic honesty has been imposed
        4. Students pursuing second or subsequent degrees
        5. Courses taken on a letter of permission or during an exchange program at another institution
    2. Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit
      1. Students may repeat a passed or failed course twice for academic degree or certificate credit, for a maximum of three (3) attempts at a course. Students should note that course availability and space considerations may preclude the possibility of repeating a course in the session they choose.
      2. When a student repeats a course for academic degree or certificate credit, the grade of the latest attempt will be the grade of record and the only grade calculated in the student’s grade point average (Major, Sessional and Cumulative). A course shall be credited only once towards the satisfaction of degree or certificate academic credit requirements.
      3. The record of each attempt will appear on the student’s transcript, with the prior attempt(s) designated as ‘No Credit Retained’. The grade awarded in the prior attempts will continue to appear on the transcript beside the NCR designation but will not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
      4. Cross-listed courses and course credit exclusions count as a course repeat and are subject to (c) above.
      5. Students who have been conferred a degree may repeat courses counted towards their degree thereafter as a Non-Degree Student. Such courses will have no impact on the student’s completed degree program or the grade point average on record.
      6. The above items do not apply to graduate degree or diploma programs, the BEd degree program in the Faculty of Education, the JD degree program in the Osgoode Hall Law School, or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program.
      7. The above items do not apply to practicum courses offered in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program.
    3. Withdrawn from Course (W) Option
      1. The Withdrawn from Course Option may be selected by students or granted by Petitions / Appeals Committees as a decision, in accordance with the provisions outlined below and the associated Guidelines in section 5.
      2. Course Withdrawal and Transcript Notation: Student Selection
        1. In the period between the last day to drop a course without receiving a grade and the final day of classes in a term, undergraduate students are permitted to withdraw from a course with the condition that the course enrolment remains on a student’s transcript, denoted by a “W” in the University’s records and on the student’s transcript as the grade decision.
        2. In rare circumstances, such as a disruption to University operations as defined by the Senate Policy on the Academic Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to Labour Disputes or Other Causes, restrictions around the use of the W option may be eased in accordance with directives provided by the Senate Executive Committee.
        3. No credit value will be retained for the course and no value will be included in the calculation of a student’s CGPA.
        4. Petitions for the removal of the W notation from the transcript are not permitted.
        5. No refund of tuition fees shall be provided for courses dropped through the W option.
        6. Courses with this decision recorded will not be considered an attempt as defined in this Policy.
        7. Student selection of the Withdrawn from Course option does not apply for the following:
          1. Graduate programs
          2. JD programPractica / internships / co-op or other experiential learning placements
          3. Exchange, Co-registration and letter of permission courses taken at another institution
      3. Withdrawn from Course as a Petition / Appeal Decision
        1. Withdrawn from Course shall be a decision available to Faculty Petitions / Appeals Committees and the Senate Appeals Committee for petitions for late withdrawal from a course. When Withdrawn from Course is granted by a committee the course(s) in question remains on a student’s transcript, denoted by a “W” in the University’s records and on the student’s transcript as the grade decision.
        2. No credit value will be retained for the course and no value will be included in the calculation of a student’s CGPA.
        3. No refund of tuition fees shall be provided for courses dropped though the W option.
        4. Courses with this decision recorded will not be considered an attempt as defined in this Policy.
        5. Standards governing late withdrawal decisions are set out in the Guidelines below. They are also included in the Senate Appeals Committee’s Guidelines for the Consideration of Petitions / Appeals by Faculty Committees.
  5. Guidelines on the Withdrawn from Course Option
    1. Guidelines to Committees for Granting Withdrawn from Course as a Petition / Appeal Decision
      1. Consistent with this Policy, the option of Withdrawn from Course is available to Petitions / Appeals Committees as a decision for a petition / appeal for late withdrawal from a course on the ground of hardship. Decisions to grant Withdrawn from Course shall be guided by the following considerations:
        1. the hardship can reasonably be seen to have caused the student’s decision to not drop, or inability to drop the course, before the last day to drop a course without receiving a grade
        2. the hardship includes transition difficulties experienced by students in their first University session
        3. the hardship is clearly documented
        4. the petition is filed promptly following the last day to drop a course without receiving a grade, “promptly” to be defined by the period affected by the hardship
    2. Guidelines to Committees for Granting Removal of a Course from the Transcript as a Petition / Appeal Decision
      1. Removing a course from a transcript represents a significant alteration of a student’s academic record. Accordingly, it should be granted infrequently only in recognition of exceptional circumstances, or to correct an error. Decisions to grant Removal of a Course from the Transcript should be guided by the following circumstances and considerations:
      2. Removal on grounds of non-participation in a course
        1. the instructor confirms that to their knowledge the student never attended the course and submitted no assignments
        2. the student has not previously petitioned on same grounds, or received prior written warning concerning withdrawal deadlines
      3. Removal on grounds that the academic feedback provided before the last day to drop a course without receiving a grade is less than required by the Senate Policy on Grading Scheme and Feedback
        1. it is confirmed by the instructor that they did not provide the required feedback to the class before the withdrawal deadline (not intended to cover cases where students do not receive feedback as a result of not completing work without extenuating circumstances, attending class or contacting the course director)
        2. the petition is filed promptly following return of the first piece of graded work by the instructor
      4. Removal on grounds of severe and prolonged hardship
        1. the severe hardship (e.g., critical illness, overwhelming life circumstances) prevented a student from continuing their participation in a course(s) after the last day to drop a course without receiving a grade
        2. the hardship is clearly documented
  6. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. It is the responsibility of students to:
      1. Be informed about the degree requirements of their program and monitor their academic standing in consultation with academic advising staff as needed.
      2. Carefully review notifications from the Office of the University Registrar, their Faculty, Department, program and/or Course Director about their standing in a course and/or their program.
      3. Confirm their eligibility for the measures outlined in this Policy.
      4. Submit applications for any of the measures outlined above by applicable deadlines.
    2. It is the responsibility of the Office of the University Registrar, Faculties, Departments, and academic programs to:
      1. Provide clear communications to students about the academic forgiveness measures laid out in this Policy.
    3. It is the responsibility of Petitions and Appeals Committees to:
      1. Ensure decisions are made in accordance with the provisions of this Policy.
  7.  Review
    1. This policy shall be reviewed every five years.
Legislative History: Approved by Senate 28 April 2022
Date of Next Review: 2027
Policies Superseded by this Policy: Effective September 1, 2022 the following Policies will be superseded by this Policy:
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: