Academic Regulations

Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

To qualify for the baccalaureate degree, a student must meet the degree requirements established by the faculty for the class in which he or she has matriculated.

Honor Code

Matriculation at Hamilton is contingent upon a student's written acceptance of the Honor Code regulations. The code covers all coursework and course examinations at Hamilton during a student’s college career. Complaints alleging violations of the Honor Code shall be submitted in writing by instructors or students to the chair of the Honor Court or to the associate dean of students (academics). 

Course Units

The number of full-credit courses (or the equivalent) required for graduation is 32. They must be completed with passing grades; a grade of C- or higher must be achieved in at least one-half of the courses taken at Hamilton. No more than 15 course credits in a single department earned after entering the College, including transferred credits, may be counted toward the courses required for graduation. Each unit of credit is equivalent to four semester hours. Each Hamilton course is equivalent to four credit (or semester) hours, unless otherwise noted in the course description. Each course expects at least three hours of study for each class hour or a total of 12 hours per week.


A student must complete at least one-half of the courses required for graduation while in residence at Hamilton and be in residence for the final semester of study. Residence means enrollment in programs conducted by the College, on or off campus.

Time for Completion of the Degree

The normal pattern for earning the baccalaureate degree is four consecutive years of study. The requirements must be completed within seven calendar years from the date of matriculation.


A student must complete the requirements for a regular concentration, a double concentration or an interdisciplinary concentration with a cumulative average of at least 1.7 in all courses taken at Hamilton that are approved for the concentration.  All students must complete the Senior Program in their concentrations.

Each student elects a concentration in the second semester of the sophomore year. For each student the requirements for the concentration elected are those specified in the edition of the College Catalogue published for that student's sophomore year.

Regular Concentration

Students declare their concentrations in the spring of their second year, before preregistration for fall semester courses. By the end of the second year, a student must have completed at least two courses in the department or program of concentration, and must have received a cumulative average of 1.7 or higher for all work taken in that department or program. The concentration is listed on the official transcript. A student may change from one concentration to another only with the approval of the departments or programs involved and the Committee on Academic Standing.

Double Concentration

While students normally declare a single concentration, it is possible for a student to complete and gain recognition for concentrations in two departments or programs, provided that approval to elect a double concentration is granted by the department or program chairs involved. A student may not count a course as part of the concentration requirements in more than one department or program. When approved, both concentrations are listed on the official transcript. Those who have been granted permission for a double concentration may drop one of them at any time by informing the appropriate department chair and the registrar. A student who declares a double concentration may not also declare a minor.

Interdisciplinary Concentration

A student may design and declare an interdisciplinary concentration involving two or more departments. After consulting with and gaining approval from the appropriate department chairs, the student must submit the proposed interdisciplinary concentration in writing for approval by the Committee on Academic Standing, which will evaluate the proposal according to standards similar to those for a regular concentration. The student must have a cumulative average of at least 1.7 in all courses approved for the concentration. The student must specify a Senior Program that meets the approval of the committee.


A student with a concentration in a single department or program may declare a minor in one or two other departments or programs that offer a minor. Students declaring a minor are strongly encouraged to consult with the appropriate department or program chair. Normally, a student should declare a minor early in the spring of their junior year. See the “Hamilton College Calendar” for the specific deadline. To declare a minor, a student must have completed at least one course in the discipline and have declared a concentration. The student must have earned a GPA of at least 1.7 in all courses counting toward the minor. This average must be maintained if the minor is to be listed along with the concentration on the official transcript. A minor consists of five courses, not only at the introductory level, as approved by the department or program under which the work is undertaken. A student may not count any course as part of both a concentration and a minor, or as part of two minors.

Senior Program

All students must complete a Senior Program in their concentrations.

Standards for Written Work

The College requires satisfactory standards of correctness in all written work. Students are encouraged to take writing-intensive courses, which are offered by most departments and programs. Writing-intensive courses include any so designated by the Committee on Academic Policy. The description of each course indicates whether it is writing-intensive.

The Writing Program requires that every student pass at least three writing-intensive courses, each taken in a different semester. One must be taken during the first year of study and a second completed by the end of the second year. This requirement should be completed by the end of the junior year.

Writing-intensive courses in mathematics or courses in which assignments are written in a language other than English may count for no more than one of the three required courses. In exceptional circumstances, the Committee on Academic Standing will allow a student to earn no more than one writing-intensive credit by completing a suitably constructed independent study. At least one course must be outside the student's area of concentration.

Writing-Intensive Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will refine their writing through a recursive process that involves drafting, revising, and receiving feedback from readers.
  • Students will substantiate and develop ideas through the analysis of evidence and the critical use of sources.
  • Students will employ appropriate rhetorical strategies and mechanical conventions for specific disciplines, audiences, genres, and media.
  • Students will properly incorporate, cite, and document sources.

Standards for Oral Communication

The College requires effective use of public and academic discourse as defined and appraised by the faculty and the College community. Many courses across the curriculum, including proseminars and seminars, require class participation through discussion, performance, and debate, as well as through individual or group presentations. Most departments require a public presentation of their concentrators' Senior Projects. Students may develop their speaking abilities and public presence through courses designated as "Speaking Intensive" (SI). Course descriptions found in the online catalogue include “Oral Presentation” if an instructor has designated a course as such. Students who experience difficulty in meeting the College’s expectations for effective oral communication are encouraged to pursue a plan for progress in consultation with their instructors, advisor and/or associate dean of students (academic).

Standards for Quantitative Work

Hamilton expects that every student will demonstrate facility in quantitative and symbolic reasoning by completing one or more courses in at least one of the following three categories:

  1. Statistical Analysis. The use of statistical analysis to describe data and to make inferences.
  2. Mathematical Representation. The use of mathematical models such as those based on graphs, equations and geometric objects to represent patterns, relationships and forms.
  3. Logic and Symbolic Reasoning. The use of formal logic or symbolic reasoning such as in the following examples: the proper construction of a computer program or a formal proof; the analysis of language in linguistics; or the study of music theory.

Courses across the curriculum that fulfill this requirement are described as Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning courses under Courses of Instruction. They are also listed online in Web Advisor and in the printed course schedule booklet distributed before each registration period. The College offers tutoring through the Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center and the Peer Tutoring Program. This requirement should be fulfilled by the end of the second year at Hamilton.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Student Learning Outcomes:

1. Students will successfully perform discipline-specific quantitative or symbolic manipulations.
2. Students will accurately interpret disciplinary arguments made using quantitative or symbolic rationalizations, whether of an analytical or visual nature.
3. Students will employ appropriate quantitative data or symbolic representations to support an argument. 

Physical Education Requirement

Every student must participate in the program of instruction offered by the Physical Education Department. Each student is required to pass tests in swimming and physical fitness. A complete specification of the requirement is stated in the “Physical Education” section. Instruction is available in badminton, fitness, golf, jogging, lifeguard training, power walking, racquetball, skating, squash, swimming, tennis, toning, volleyball and yoga. Except under unusual circumstances, it is expected that the requirement will be completed in the first year. All students must complete the physical education requirement by the beginning of Spring Break of the sophomore year and before studying away.

Transfer students and January admits should register for a physical education course upon matriculation and consult with the department chair about completion of the requirement. Prior instruction may be applicable to Hamilton requirements

Conferral of Degrees

All qualified students receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts, which is conferred once a year at the graduation ceremony. The degrees are conferred only upon students who have completed all the baccalaureate requirements described above, who have no outstanding bills at the College, and who are present to receive their diplomas (unless they have requested and received authorization from the Committee on Academic Standing for conferral in absentia). Any student who has completed the Writing-intensive, Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning, Physical Education, and concentration requirements (or the department/program agrees to a plan to complete concentration requirements), has completed at least 30, but less than the 32 credits required for graduation, and has a plan for completing the remaining credits can be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony upon approval of a petition submitted to the Committee on Academic Standing.

Course election and exams

Course Election

Both Hamilton’s commitment to excellence and its need to operate within its resources have implications for course enrollment policy. Except for independent studies and courses with limited enrollments, a student shall be free to elect, during the calendar periods for registration, any course for which the prerequisites have been met. However, a senior who desires to elect a 100-level course must first obtain permission from the instructor.

Full-time students normally elect courses equal to four credits during both the fall and spring semesters. During each of these semesters, students may carry no more than five, and no fewer than three, full-credit courses. Any exception must be approved by the Committee on Academic Standing.

Part-time study at Hamilton is available only to special students and to those participating in the Hamilton Horizons Program.

Course Changes for Fall and Spring Semesters

A student may change (add or drop) courses during the first seven class days of the fall and spring semesters after consultation with the advisor. An add/drop form must be completed and returned to the Registrar’s Office within the seven-day period.

Classes may not be added after the deadline without permission of the Committee on Academic Standing. After the first seven class days of either semester, a student who is taking four or more courses may drop a course up to one week after midterm, after consulting with the advisor and the instructor of the course.

After the drop deadline, a student may drop a course without the penalty of failure only with approval from the Committee on Academic Standing. Only extraordinary circumstances warrant the committee's approval of such a request.

Independent Study

After the first semester of study, a student may engage in independent study during the school year in place of a regular course. The student's independent study proposal must receive the approval of the faculty supervisor, the appropriate department chair, the student's faculty advisor and the Committee on Academic Standing. Normally, arrangements are completed in the semester preceding that of the independent study; late petitions may be denied. Independent study requires discipline and responsibility, and therefore the faculty takes into account the maturity of the student and the level of his or her knowledge and academic background when it considers proposals for independent study. A student normally will not engage in more than one independent study in any one semester, and may not engage in more than two independent studies in any one academic year.

Independent study may take many forms, but normally it consists of the study of material unavailable in the formal College curriculum, of laboratory or field research, or of the creation of some body of work in the creative arts, such as poetry, fiction, musical composition or visual art.

Independent Coverage of Coursework

Under certain circumstances, a student may cover a course independently and receive credit on the basis of demonstrated proficiency. The course covered in this manner must be one that is normally offered in a regular semester. Such study is ordinarily undertaken during the summer recess and permits the student to move rapidly into advanced courses for which there are prerequisites, or to make up a course failed during a preceding semester.

A student wishing to cover a course independently must obtain the approval of a faculty supervisor, the appropriate department chair, the faculty advisor, and the Committee on Academic Standing.


The College recognizes that off-campus internship and apprenticeship experiences can be a valuable supplement to a student’s academic program. Students beyond the first year (eight courses) who are in good academic standing are eligible to engage in such internships and apprenticeships. Students may seek to earn academic credit based on an internship or apprenticeship experience in one of two ways. First, students may apply to the Committee on Academic Standing, prior to beginning an internship or apprenticeship, for approval to earn 1/4 credit (using the credit/no credit option only). The committee’s determination to award credit/no credit is based on a letter of evaluation submitted by the project supervisor and, at the discretion of the committee, an interview with the student conducted by the associate dean of students (academic). The Office of the Dean of Students will place the project supervisor's letter of evaluation in the student’s permanent file. Students may not apply credits earned for internships in this manner toward the requirements for their degree, including the regulation requiring the completion of a minimum of 32 credits. Second, under the direction of a regular member of the faculty, and with the approval of the Committee on Academic Standing, students pursuing approved off-campus internships and apprenticeships may use their off-campus experience as the basis for a 1/2-credit or one-credit independent study conducted during a regular semester once the student returns to the College. Such an independent study will be governed by the same policies that apply to all independent studies.

Reading Period and Final Examinations

The reading period shall comprise three days, with the final examination period beginning on the night of the third day and extending for four additional days. The final examination period has three scheduled examination sessions per full day. If a student is scheduled to take more than one examination in a single session, or if a student is scheduled to take three examinations in a single day, the student should ask an instructor to reschedule one final examination. If the rescheduling presents a problem for the student or the instructor, the student should consult the Office of the Dean of Students. A student shall not be required to take three examinations in a single day. Other reasons for rescheduling will be evaluated by the instructor, who must approve the time change.

Academic Performance and Expectations 


A student's academic performance is graded by the instructor at the close of the semester with one of 13 grades. Each of these grades is used to determine a student's average and class standing, according to the table below. The lowest passing mark is D-.

The letter grades with their numerical equivalents are shown below:




































The foregoing numerical equivalents of the letter grades are established to enable the registrar to construct students’ grade point averages and class ranks, which are necessarily numerical. An instructor assigns a letter grade to indicate his or her qualitative (not numerical) assessment of a student's work.

Thus, for example, an instructor would assign C+, C, or C- to indicate assessments of “satisfactory,” and the instructor may use any information he or she considers appropriate, including, but not limited to, numerical information to decide whether a student's work is “satisfactory.” The registrar’s conversion of the instructor’s letter grade into an element of a student’s grade point average is a separate matter.

Evaluation of performance in a course is represented by a single grade which combines grades for work in the course and for the final examination in a ratio determined by the instructor. When a student elects to take a course on a credit/no credit basis, standing in the course is represented by the notation of Cr, NC, or F (see “Credit/No Credit Option”). When an independent study or an appropriately designated course is carried for two semesters, the grade reported at the end of the first semester is tentative. The grade assigned by the instructor at the end of the second semester becomes the final mark for both semesters.

After the drop period, and following a warning to the student, an instructor may request the Committee on Academic Standing to remove from the course a student who is willfully and consistently neglectful of assigned work or other course obligations. If the committee concurs, a grade of F will be entered on the student's permanent transcript.

Limitation on Repeating Courses

Students who earn a passing grade in a course may not repeat the course for credit except for those courses where the Catalogue states, "May be retaken for credit." Students who fail a course may repeat that course; if the failed course is repeated, however, both grades will be included on the permanent transcript and in the cumulative average. A failed course may not be counted toward the course credits required for graduation.

Grades of  Incomplete and Grade Changes

Any grade of incomplete reported by an instructor must first be approved by the chair of the Committee on Academic Standing in consultation with the associate dean of student support and the student. Such approval is given rarely and only in circumstances beyond a student’s control, such as a medical or family emergency. Approval permits the student to complete the required work for the course no later than four weeks from the end of the semester for which the grade of incomplete was assigned, unless completing the work requires being on campus. If all remaining work is not submitted by the deadline, the grade will automatically be changed to F. Deadlines for incompletes will be extended only for compelling extenuating circumstances and only with approval from the chair of the Committee on Academic Standing in consultation with the associate dean of students for student support and the instructor. Extensions, if granted, will normally be for another four weeks.

An instructor may not change a grade, other than the removal of a previously approved incomplete within the deadline, without the approval of the chair of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Grade Appeals

Grading is a faculty prerogative and it is normally not Hamilton’s policy to intervene in grade disputes.  In no instance will the College change a grade without the permission of the instructor. Students who have a complaint about a grade should, in all but the most sensitive cases (e.g., sexual harassment), discuss their concerns with the instructor of the course.  If this meeting fails to bring about a resolution, the student should then talk to the chair of the department. The chair should consult with both the student and instructor.

If the matter cannot be resolved at this stage, the student may meet with the associate dean of students for academics, who, upon meeting with both the student and instructor, and completing any appropriate investigation, will discuss the matter with the dean of the faculty, who will decide if the complaint has merit. If the dean of the faculty decides the case does not have merit, s/he should respond to both the student and instructor in writing detailing the reasons for the decision. A copy of this letter should be kept in both the student’s and instructor’s files.

If the dean does believe that the case has merit and that a waiver of an academic regulation (e.g., late withdrawal, change to Credit/No credit after the deadline) is appropriate, s/he may refer the complaint to the Committee on Academic Standing with a recommendation for further action.  This recommendation should include copies of a written statement from the student, the response from the instructor, and a letter from the dean explaining the reasons for the recommendation. A copy of the student complaint, the instructor response, and the dean’s recommendation will be kept in both the instructor’s and student’s files.

Credit/No Credit Option

To encourage greater breadth in course election, the College allows a student to elect courses on a credit/no credit option. No more than one such option may be exercised in any given semester. Graduate and professional schools generally look with disfavor on the use of this option in coursework considered crucial to the graduate field.

The credit/no credit option is subject to the following rules:

  1. Unless instructors ask, they will not be informed which students are taking a course using the credit/no credit option.
  2. Students must inform the registrar of their intention to declare or remove the credit/no credit option no later than the sixth Wednesday of the fall semester and the sixth Friday of the spring semester.
  3. Concentration or minor requirements may contain additional restrictions regarding credit/no credit courses.
  4. Courses taken credit/no credit may not be used to fulfill the Writing Intensive or Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning graduation requirements.
  5. To qualify for credit (with a recorded grade of CR), a student must earn a C- or better. The grade will not enter into the computation of the overall average, but the course will be counted in the student’s total units.
  6. If a student earns a grade of D+, D, or D-, the transcript will show the designation NC. No credit is earned for a “NC” grade and the grade will not enter into the computation of the overall average.
  7. If a student earns a failing grade, the transcript will show an F, no credit will be earned for the course, and the grade will enter into the computation of the overall average.

The maximum combined number of full-credit satisfactory/unsatisfactory and credit/no credit courses that an individual student may have on a transcript is four.

Courses Evaluated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

In certain courses, students may be evaluated “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.” The description of the course will include the notation “Evaluated Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory,” which will apply to all students registered for the course. The recorded evaluation (S or U) will under no circumstances be convertible to a conventional grade.

Courses that are evaluated satisfactory/unsatisfactory may be counted, but may not be required, for the concentration or minor. The maximum combined number of full-credit satisfactory/unsatisfactory and credit/no credit courses that an individual student may have on a transcript is four.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Based on grades submitted by instructors, a numerical academic average is determined for each student for each semester and cumulatively for all work taken at Hamilton. This information is available to the student and to those parties authorized by the student to receive it. Grades in courses accepted for transferred credit are excluded from the student's average.

Grades earned in courses taken by independent coverage are included in the cumulative average. Grades for the Hamilton in France Program, the Academic Year in Spain Program, the Associated Colleges in China Program, the Hamilton Program in New York City, the Hamilton Term in Washington, the New York State Independent College Consortium for Study in India and The New England Center for Children Cooperative Learning Program are included in the cumulative average.

Class Attendance

Every student is expected to attend class regularly. A student who must be absent because of medical or family emergency should notify the Office of the Dean of Students and his or her instructors. Absence for any reason does not remove the student’s responsibility for learning the material covered during the absence, for turning in assignments, for obtaining materials distributed in class and for knowledge of the next assignment. Instructors may drop students from a limited-enrollment course if they are absent at any time during the first week of classes.

When an instructor believes that lack of attendance is affecting a student’s academic performance, the instructor may warn the student or ask the Committee on Academic Standing to do so. The committee may drop from the course a student who fails to heed such a notice. If the committee drops the student, a grade of F will be recorded.

Students who are indisposed by illness that might inhibit their academic work should contact their instructors before assignments are due. The instructors will determine whatever alternative arrangements, if any, will be available to the student. Except for confinement to bed upon the order of the College physician or nurse, the Health Center will not excuse a student from academic obligations.

Academic Standing

The faculty assumes that every student admitted to Hamilton will be able to qualify for graduation. However, the opportunity to continue at Hamilton is a privilege that a student must earn by academic achievement. A student separated from the College for academic deficiency (see below) is not in good academic standing. A student on academic probation (see below) is not in good academic standing but remains eligible for financial aid.

Hamilton reserves the right, at any time, to suspend for any period or to separate from the College any student whose academic performance or personal conduct on or off campus is, in the sole judgment of the College, unsatisfactory or detrimental to the best interests of the College. Neither the College, nor any of its trustees, officers, faculty, or administrative staff shall be subject to any liability whatsoever on account of such suspension or separation. A student who is separated or suspended from the College or who withdraws is required to leave campus within 48 hours, unless permission to remain longer is granted by the dean of students.

Academic Warnings

Instructors may at any time during the term submit written reports for all students whose standing in a course is unsatisfactory (borderline or failing). Students and their advisors receive copies of these warnings. A student who receives two or more such warnings in the same semester must consult with the associate dean of students (academic).

Class Status

The Registrar’s Office determines class status by the number of courses a student has completed satisfactorily.

Academic Risk

The Committee on Academic Standing will deem a student to be at academic risk for the succeeding semester who, in his/her first semester in residence at Hamilton, earns a GPA of less than 2.0. Students deemed to be at academic risk will be subject to the restrictions that apply to academic probation, described below.

Academic Probation

The Committee on Academic Standing will place on academic probation for the succeeding semester a student who has completed at least two semesters at Hamilton and whose GPA for the most recent semester is below 2.0.

A student who is on academic probation is ineligible for study abroad. The Committee on Academic Standing may also prevent or limit participation by students on academic probation in prize competitions, intercollegiate athletics, and other extracurricular activities, including the holding of offices in chartered undergraduate organizations.

The Committee on Academic Standing may recommend that a student's degree be withheld for one year if a senior's record during the final semester at Hamilton would have resulted in probation.

Suspension from the College for Academic Deficiency

The Committee on Academic Standing will normally suspend from the College for a period of one year a student who has:

  1. a GPA for the prior semester of less than 1.0, or
  2. incurred a third academic probation.

A student suspended for academic deficiency will be notified in writing of the committee's decision, the reasons for the suspension, the length of the suspension, and the conditions under which he or she will be considered for readmission to the College.

A student readmitted from a suspension for academic deficiency will be placed on academic probation for the semester immediately following readmission.

Expulsion from the College for Academic Deficiency

The Committee on Academic Standing will normally expel from the College any student who is readmitted from an academic suspension and whose record subsequent to readmission makes him or her subject to academic probation or to another suspension.

Expulsion is permanent dismissal from the College. A student who is expelled may not be readmitted and will have no further opportunity to qualify for a degree from Hamilton.

Permanent Record

A student who is suspended or expelled from the College as a consequence of an action taken by the Committee on Academic Standing (academic failure), the Judicial Board (social infractions), or the Honor Court (academic dishonesty) will have recorded on his or her permanent transcript a note explaining the reason or reasons for the suspension or expulsion as follows: “suspended (or expelled) from the College on (date)_______________ for the reason of _______________.”


Transfer of Credit to Hamilton for Study Away

With faculty approval, qualified students may spend one to three semesters of study in an approved program overseas or at another American institution, or may receive credit for part-time study while on personal leave or during summers. The College tries to be responsive to the needs of students seeking diverse educational settings or courses not offered at Hamilton. At the same time, transferred credit can have a significant effect on the meaning and value of the Hamilton degree and thus must represent work that meets Hamilton's standards. The College considers the opportunity to earn transferred credit a privilege, rather than a right, and evaluates carefully the merits of all transferred credit petitions.
Every student intending to study away from Hamilton should prepare by taking the appropriate foundation courses. Consultation with the appropriate department chairs and the associate dean of students for study abroad early in the sophomore year is advised.
The conditions for transferred credit are as follows:

  1. Students planning to study away from Hamilton must register their intentions with the Office of Off-Campus Study by the published deadlines. They must complete the transferred credit petition and receive the approval of their advisor and/or the appropriate department chairs before they begin the course of study away. Students who change their programs after leaving campus should discuss substitutions with the Office of Off-Campus Study by email or telephone.
  2. Courses must be taken at an accredited institution and must be considered by the faculty at Hamilton to be in the liberal arts. Students are encouraged to study at four-year institutions. Students who have earned 14 or more Hamilton units (including units earned by all forms of transferred credit) may present for transferred credit only courses taken at a four-year institution.
  3. Each course must be approved by the chair of the Hamilton department or program that would offer the course at the College. To obtain approval, students must provide a copy of the catalogue description of each course. If a course is not clearly within the purview of a Hamilton department or program, the Committee on Academic Standing will determine its acceptability. The appropriate chair should indicate if a course will apply toward a student's concentration or minor.
  4. Online courses are not normally acceptable for transferred credit.
  5. Courses in which a substantial portion of the enrollment consists of high school students are not acceptable for transferred credit, even if they are college-level courses taught by a university-approved instructor or visiting professor.
  6. Grades must be the equivalent of C or higher.
  7. Students who carry out independent studies at another college or university in the United States must submit a separate form indicating that a Hamilton faculty member has evaluated and approved the completed project.
  8. Transferred credits may account for no more than one-half of the total graduation credits. No more than two course credits will be granted for study during a summer.
  9. Seniors must take their final semester at Hamilton College. Matriculated students may spend no more than three semesters studying away from Hamilton.
  10. The quantity of transferred credit that a student may earn toward a Hamilton degree for work done at another school is determined by a proportionality between the 32 Hamilton units required for a Hamilton degree and the number of units required at the other school to earn a degree. For example, if a school requires 120 semester-hours for a degree, a course worth three semester-hours at that school is .025 of the total work required for a degree at that school. By proportionality, that three semester-hour course would generate .8 of a Hamilton unit, because (.025)(32) = .8. The registrar will use this rule to evaluate the totality of a student's transferred credit for a given semester or summer.
  11. The Committee on Academic Standing grants final approval of all transferred credit petitions. Any requests for exceptions to the above conditions must be submitted to the committee.

Transferred credit, including summer school and advanced placement credit, is counted toward the courses required for a degree. Such credit is entered on the transcript. The grade, however, is not included in the student's average and, therefore, does not affect class rank, which is determined solely on the basis of grades awarded for courses taken in Hamilton programs.

Once transferred credit has been entered on a student's transcript, that credit may not be removed from the transcript without approval of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Foreign students who enter Hamilton as first-year students and desire transferred credit for work done at a foreign college or university should consult the associate dean of students (academic) during their first year.

Study Abroad

Students planning to study in a foreign country must follow and complete the procedures specified above for off-campus study and transferred credit. (These provisions do not apply to the Hamilton programs in China, France, or Spain. See the appropriate departments for the relevant information.)

All students planning to study away must discuss their plans with their study abroad advisor by the published deadlines. Only students in good academic and social standing at the College may receive an approved leave of absence for foreign study.

As in the case of other off-campus programs, final approval of foreign study programs and transfer of foreign study credit is granted by the Committee on Academic Standing.

Upon returning to Hamilton, the student must have an official transcript sent to the Office of the Registrar documenting completion of the approved program. No credit will be approved for courses taken credit/no credit. Students must receive letter grades or equivalents from off-campus programs.

To earn credit toward a Hamilton degree for study abroad, a student must:

  1. earn a grade point average of 2.7 or higher during the two consecutive semesters at Hamilton immediately preceding the student’s last semester at Hamilton before leaving for the study abroad.
  2. receive no final grades of F in the semester immediately preceding the proposed period of study abroad.

Students applying to the Hamilton programs in China, France, or Spain may, with the support of the appropriate ­program director and the concentration advisor, apply to the Committee on Academic Standing for a waiver of the 2.7 average rule.

To earn credit toward a Hamilton degree by work transferred from study abroad in a country whose language is not English, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. prior to studying abroad, pass a course (or otherwise demonstrate proficiency) in the language of that country at:
    a.)  the fourth-semester level for French, German, Russian and Spanish;
    b.)  the second-semester level for Italian, Chinese and Japanese;
    c.)  the second-semester level, if the Critical Language Program at Hamilton offers instruction in that language regularly.
  2. while studying abroad, undertake for credit work that is either conducted in the language of that country or that increases the student's proficiency in that language. The student must earn a grade of C or higher, and the work must be worth at least one-fifth of the total work presented for transferred credit from that study abroad.

The Committee on Academic Standing may, upon the recommendation of an academic department at Hamilton, modify these requirements for specific students or programs of study abroad

Evaluation of Credit for Transfer Students

Transcripts of college work to date will be reviewed by the registrar, in consultation with the Committee on Academic Standing, to determine the courses that will be accepted for transfer. (See the preceding section for the criteria used.) Transfer students must complete at least half of their undergraduate program at Hamilton to receive a Hamilton College degree.

When the transcript has been evaluated, the registrar will send the transfer student a statement of accepted courses and an estimate of the Hamilton credit equivalency, and upon matriculation will enter the courses and grades on the student’s Hamilton record. The registrar will assign a class year based on the number of credits accepted for transfer. A transfer student is governed by the academic regulations that pertain to the class in which he or she has been placed.

Courses taken elsewhere may be counted toward the concentration if approved by the appropriate department.

Changes to the Four-Year Schedule for Completion of Degree


Acceleration permits students to graduate one full year ahead of the normal date of graduation. Students wishing to accelerate must apply to the Committee on Academic Standing for permission to do so no later than the end of the first semester of the sophomore year. The committee will consider both the advisability of acceleration and the means of achieving it. Approval will be granted only to those students whose academic ability and personal maturity are judged adequate.

Leaves of Absence

A student may request from the associate dean of students (academic) an academic or personal leave of absence. A student may request from the dean of students a medical or psychological leave. Students should consult with their academic advisor and the appropriate dean prior to requesting leave. Leaves of absence may be granted for a specified period of time, normally one or two semesters. Students on leave are expected to return to Hamilton at the conclusion of the approved leave.

While on leave, students will be informed of preregistration at the appropriate time in the semester preceding their return, and are responsible for meeting the same deadlines as currently enrolled students. Arrangements for housing must be completed before students leave campus. In order to do this, students must complete a proxy form and register it with the Office of Residential Life. Students who fail to preregister or who leave Hamilton without formally being granted a leave of absence will be withdrawn and must reapply to the dean of students. A request for a change in a student's leave, or cancellation, must be made to the appropriate dean. Should the dean approve the request to cancel a leave, the student must pay the continuation fee and then may exercise his or her own on-campus options, to the extent that the College schedule allows.

All requests for a leave of absence must be received by the published deadlines. Students with an approved leave do not pay the registration fee, preregister or participate in the housing or meal plan lotteries. The registration fee is refundable until May 1; after that date it is forfeited.

Students may occasionally need to arrange a leave of absence after the spring or fall deadlines for reasons beyond their control. These students should apply to the dean of students, who may allow financial and other regulations to be waived. When a leave is granted, the dean of students may also specify special conditions for the student's readmission to Hamilton.

Academic Leave of Absence

Students intending to pursue an academic program at another institution, either at an American college or in a foreign study program, must request in writing an academic leave from the associate dean of students (academic).

Personal Leave of Absence

Students may request in writing a leave for personal or financial reasons from the associate dean of students (academic).

Medical or Psychological Leave of Absence

Students who have a professionally diagnosed medical or psychological condition that interferes with their academic or social life at Hamilton may request from the dean of students a medical or psychological leave of absence. For such a leave to be considered, the student must authorize the director of Student Health Services and/or the director of Counseling and Psychological Services, as appropriate, to provide confirmation of the presence and severity of the condition to the dean of students.

In extraordinary circumstances when a student is unable or unwilling to take a voluntary leave of absence, the dean of students or a designee may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence if it is determined that the student's actions pose a direct threat to the safety of others or disrupt the learning environment for other students. Before an involuntary leave is considered, the dean of students will consult with the student and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) and encourage a voluntary leave of absence.

Prior to placing a student on an involuntary leave, the dean of students or a designee will meet with the student and explain the reasons why it is under consideration. The student will have an opportunity to respond. In determining whether an involuntary leave is necessary, the dean of students will confer with campus officials who can help evaluate whether a student’s behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of others or disrupts the learning environment for other students. The dean of students or designee may require an assessment by health care professionals who can assist in making an informed decision. In all cases, reasonable accommodations that would mitigate the need for an involuntary leave will be considered. In a case where a student’s behavior is judged by the dean of students or designee to pose an immediate and substantial disruption or threat to the safety of others, the dean or designee may take immediate action to place the student on an involuntary leave, providing the student an opportunity to respond to the action in a reasonable period of time.

Students who take a leave during a semester will normally be on leave for the remainder of that semester plus the subsequent semester. Students who have been on medical or psychological leave of absence must apply to the dean of students to return. Normally this request should be made 30 days in advance of the proposed date of return. Requests will be granted only after the director of Student Health Services and/or the director of Counseling and Psychological Services informs the dean of students that he or she is satisfied that the student is ready to return; this will normally require the student to supply documentation from appropriate professionals confirming that the condition leading to the leave has been resolved.

Suspension, Withdrawal and Readmission

Academic Suspension

A student suspended for academic deficiency will be notified in writing of the decision of the Committee on Academic Standing, the reasons for suspension, the length of the suspension, and the conditions under which he or she will be considered for readmission to the College. A student readmitted from a suspension for academic deficiency will be placed on academic probation for the semester immediately following readmission.

Disciplinary and Honor Code Suspension

Students may be suspended from the College for disciplinary reasons or for violating the Honor Code. Readmission to the College after a suspension is not automatic, but requires application to the dean of students. A student readmitted from suspension for disciplinary reasons will normally be placed on disciplinary probation for the semester immediately following readmission. Readmission will normally be denied if the conditions specified at the time of suspension have not been met. Hamilton reserves the right to defer readmission if space is not available.


Students who leave Hamilton while a semester is in progress or at the end of the semester, and who do not wish to return at a future date, are required to formally withdraw from the College by meeting with the associate dean of students (academic) and following the proper exit procedures.


Former students or students who have completed withdrawal procedures may apply to the dean of admission for readmission to the College. Applications for readmission are to be submitted at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to return.

Continuation at Hamilton


Preregistration is held in November for the following spring semester and in April for the following fall semester. In order to preregister for the fall semester, students must not have any holds and meet all other eligibility. Students who have not preregistered may be withdrawn from the College.

Housing Selection

In order to continue in college housing, returning students select their rooms for the next academic year through the housing selection at the end of the spring semester. In order to be eligible, students must have their accounts clear and have preregistered for classes for the fall semester. The housing selection information guide, updated in the middle of the spring semester, contains additional requirements pertaining to the process and student eligibility.

Meal Plan Placement

Each student must participate in a meal plan while classes are in session. All first-year and sophomore students must participate in the 21-meal plan. Most junior and senior students will participate in the 7-, 14- or 21-meal plan, depending on where they live. Certain housing locations permit students to take fewer meals in the dining halls. However, all students, at a minimum, must participate in the seven-meal plan. Students with medical restrictions need to consult with the director of residential life.

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