Academic Policies and Procedures

Students enrolled in any division of the university are responsible for familiarizing themselves with (and understanding) the implications of all institutional policies, procedures and requirements affecting progress toward their academic goals. These include, but are not limited to, degree and major course requirements and the university’s grading and course-repeat policies. Students who ignore these policies, procedures and requirements do so at their own risk. See the Student Handbook for additional information.

Attendance Policy

For full semester courses, students (whether currently registered in the course or not) must start attending classes by the first class meeting after the add period ends.

An enrolled student who misses the first week of class and is not present at the first class meeting after the add period ends needs faculty and department chair approval to remain in the class. If the add period has ended, instructors retain the right to deny admission to a course to any student who is not yet enrolled.

After a course has met for two weeks, students may not register for it, and may not start to attend classes, including those classes for which they are already registered. Instructors must report missing students as “no-shows” to the Registrar at the end of the second week of classes.

Exceptions to this policy can be made only in the following cases:

  • The student has been attending one section of a course but needs to switch to another section.
  • The student has been mistakenly placed in the wrong course and needs to be reassigned.

In such cases the exception will be made by the chair of the relevant department on a case by case basis.

  • For intensive courses, a student who has missed the pre-session meeting must, prior to the first class meeting, get the instructor’s permission to attend. Students who are not present at the start of the first class may not thereafter attend.

Course Overload Policy

Full time student status is defined as enrollment in 12-18 credit hours. Authorization to carry more than the normal number of credit hours in any one semester is generally given only to students with a 2.7 or higher overall academic record, or to senior students with a cumulative average of 2.0 or higher. In special cases, students may file a petition with Academic Services to have this qualification waived.

Course Away Policy

  •  Review the information on taking a course away.
  • Courses must be approved in writing (“Course Away Request Form”) by  Academic Services in advance of the course being taken.
  • Full-time students are permitted to take courses away only during interim periods between semesters (i.e., during summer and winter session). NOTE: permission to take courses outside of Bentley during fall or spring semesters will only be granted for students with extenuating circumstances and for compelling reasons. Requests to take courses during fall or spring semesters must be accompanied by an Academic Petition.
  • A minimum grade of 2.0 (C) must be earned in order for the course taken away to be eligible for Course Away credit. Please note: Only the course away credits (TR) will appear on the Bentley transcript rather than the actual grade.
  • Once enrolled at Bentley, students can transfer in (through Course Away) up to 10 percent of their Bentley program from other institutions. NOTE: students must complete a minimum of 60 credits at Bentley to meet graduation requirements.
  • Students may transfer no more than a total of 6 credits into their major.
  • Students may transfer a maximum of 3 credits into a minor.
  • Students taking courses at institutions outside of the United States, but in their home country, must have the courses reviewed and approved by Academic Services. Students taking courses at institutions outside of the U.S., but not in their home country, must have the courses approved by the Office of International Education.
  • Courses must be credit-bearing and may not duplicate previous coursework. Please note: CEU (Continuing Education Unit) courses are not transferable. Courses must carry a minimum of 3 semester hour credits.
  • Upper-level business courses must be taken at an AACSB-accredited college or university. For a listing of AACSB accredited institutions, please see the AACSB website at aacsb.edu.
  • Students take courses elsewhere at their own risk. Academic Services cannot guarantee that course content is 100% comparable to its Bentley equivalent. Students should exercise care as to whether they think courses taken elsewhere will offer the proper foundation for their subsequent coursework at Bentley.
  • Students opting to take a course at another institution must ensure they meet the prerequisites established by that institution.
  • All courses transfer to Bentley as 3 credits, with the exception of lab sciences which transfer as 4 credits.
  • When submitting a course from a business department, a syllabus is required for approval. If one is not provided with the original submission, the processing will be delayed until a syllabus is provided.
  • For seniors intending to graduate in May, and who are approved to take courses away in the spring semester, official transcripts must be received no later than eight days prior to graduation. (Please see the Registrar’s Office for deadlines and special instructions.)
  • Students are encouraged to have alternative courses reviewed through course away in the event that the first choice becomes unavailable.
  • Course Away approvals apply to undergraduate programs only. Students considering graduate study at Bentley should consult their program requirements to assess if classes taken elsewhere meet graduate admission standards.
  • General Business (GB) courses cannot be taken away.
  • Students cannot take their major communication intensive course away.
  • Course Focus Requirements may not be transferred in.
  • For the Course Away form to be considered complete, the form must be accompanied by the following:
    • a course description of each course being submitted for review; a syllabus for upper level business courses
    • a copy of the Degree Works Audit

Course Away processing can take up to two weeks.

For more information on Course Away, contact the Academic Services, located in Jennison 336, at ga_academic_services@bentley.edu.

Course Prerequisites

Students are not permitted to attend courses unless all prerequisites are satisfactorily completed, either through Bentley courses, transfer credit or proficiency examinations.

Departments are not obligated to grant waivers to accommodate a student’s required course of study. Students may petition the appropriate department chairperson for a waiver of a prerequisite for a particular course. The university makes every effort to notify students who fail to meet the appropriate prerequisites. The responsibility, however, is the student’s and the university has the authority to remove students from courses without notice.

Course Repeat Policy

Generally, students are not permitted to repeat courses for which they have received a passing grade. Only under certain circumstances may a student repeat a previously passed course. The university’s policy on repeating courses is geared to help students meet the cumulative grade point average(s) needed to graduate. Students can repeat both major and non-major passed courses to raise their grade point averages to satisfy their graduation requirement, based on the guidelines outlined below.

Cumulative average restrictions are as follows:

  • Repeating Major Passed Courses: Major cumulative average must be below 2.0 and course grade must be below 2.0.
  • Repeating Non-major Passed Courses: Overall cumulative average must be below 2.0 and course grade must be below 2.0.

Students must obtain authorization from the university registrar and the chairperson of the department in which they are majoring.

Students can repeat (or substitute for) a course a maximum of two times after the original attempt. This includes grades of F, W and AU.

Students eligible to repeat courses based on the restrictions listed above may repeat required courses and electives that are passed with grades of less than 2.0 in accordance with the following table:

Number of Total Bentley Repeats or Course Substitutions

Passed Repeats Allowed
1-10 may repeat 1
11-20 may repeat 2
21-30 may repeat 3
31-40 may repeat 4

Additionally, for MA 123/123L or GB 112, students who attain grades below 2.0 in the first of this two-course sequence may opt to retake the course to better prepare for the next course in the sequence. Students who receive a passing grade (.07 to 1.7) are not required to retake the course, but would be allowed to repeat it. This provides students who wish to master the material the opportunity to do so, which will increase their ability to succeed in the subsequent course. Students who wish to retake the course must do so in the following semester. The new grade will replace the earlier grade in calculating the student’s GPA; however, the original grade will still appear on the student’s transcript.

Students who opt to repeat a course may not enroll concurrently in the subsequent course.

Pass/Fail Course Policy

As Bentley attracts more highly qualified students and offers a greater range of challenging courses, the pass/fail option has become a way for interested students to risk taking elective courses that are intellectually challenging without jeopardizing their GPA as long as they pass the course as defined below.

Policy:  Available for sophomores, juniors and seniors (class code 3-8);

  • The pass fail option can be used for one (1) course in the Bentley curriculum.
  • A pass/fail option can only be used for courses that are Business electives, Arts and Science electives, or Unrestricted electives.
  • Students are not permitted to use pass/fail grades toward their General Education, Business Core and Major requirements.
  • That pass/fail option may be used for courses taken in a minor.
  • That pass/fail option may not be used for Honors courses.
  • Certain BA majors are not able to use the Pass/Fail option for the Business minor.
  • Falcon Fast-Track students are restricted from taking pre-program required courses or courses for advanced credits standing as pass/fail.
  • Students may not use the pass/fail option for courses taken in Bentley-sponsored education abroad programs.
  • Students may not use the pass/fail option for internships, directed studies, tutorials, SL 120, SL 121, or faculty-led international courses.
  • An academic department may request that a particular course be excluded from the pass/fail option.  Exclusions are noted with “not eligible for P/F” along with course prerequisites on the on-line course listings and in the registration booklet.
  • The Pass/Fail Declaration Form must be received by the Registrar’s office prior to the end of the add/drop period. No faculty member or department chair can waive this deadline.

  • The decision is irrevocable.  Be sure to check the accuracy of your declaration. No changes will be permitted after the deadline.

Grading Scale:

  • Faculty will submit numerical grades that will be converted by the Registrar's Office.  The pass/fail designation will be updated after all grades are received.
  • When converting numerical grades, students electing this option will receive a grade of "P", "D", or "F".

  • A "P" (1.7 to 4.0) will earn academic credit and is not calculated in the term and cumulative GPA.

  • A "D" (.7 to 1.3) will earn academic credit and is calculated in the term and cumulative GPA. A grade value of 1.0 will be used in calculating the term and cumulative GPA.

  • An "F" will not earn academic credit and is calculated in term and cumulative GPA. 

Repeating a Failed Course

Students can repeat a maximum of six different failed courses. Failures exceeding this number may result in permanent dismissal from Bentley. (An F in a repeated course does not count toward the total number of different failed courses.) Only required courses that are failed must be repeated; no substitutions are allowed. Elective courses (restricted and unrestricted) that are failed can be repeated or substituted with another course.

Students can repeat or substitute for a course a maximum of two times after the original attempt. This includes grades of F, W and AU.

Additional Course Repeat Policy Information

  1. All grades are retained on the student’s permanent record.
  2. Only the last grade received for a repeated or substituted course is used in compiling graduation credits and computing the grade point average with proper authorization.
  3. If a course taken at Bentley is repeated at another accredited college or university pursuant to stated repeat policies, the original grade is no longer considered in computing the Bentley grade point average, provided transfer credit is awarded.
  4. Students who wish to substitute one course for another must declare their intention to do so before the end of the third week of the semester with the registrar.

Incomplete Grades Policy

As a general rule, all coursework must be completed by the end of the semester in which the course is offered.  An incomplete grade is a temporary designation issued when required work, which can be made up, is not completed by the end of the semester.

Eligibility for an Incomplete Grade

  • An incomplete grade may be granted to a student at the discretion of a faculty member as an accommodation due to the student experiencing unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances at the end of the semester.
  • A student must have consistently demonstrated passing academic work prior to the request for an incomplete. 
  • Incompletes are not automatically granted for students who miss large amounts of class due to illness or personal circumstances. Instructors must not issue an incomplete due to lack of class attendance and/or a lack of completed work. An incomplete grade should not be issued in the following situations:
    • The student needs to attend and repeat most of the course.
    • The student stopped attending class.
    • To allow the student the opportunity to complete additional work or improve upon previously completed requirements after the semester has ended.
  • A faculty member’s failure to complete grading by the deadline is not a permissible reason to issue an incomplete. When a grade designation is required, the faculty member, Registrar, and department chair will coordinate such designation.

An incomplete grade issued in the fall or winter session term must be completed no later than March 15 of the subsequent spring semester. An incomplete grade issued in the spring or summer term must be completed no later than November 15 of the subsequent fall semester.  Faculty members have the discretion to require outstanding coursework to be submitted earlier than the deadlines stated above. It is the student’s responsibility to work with the faculty member to clear the incomplete grade.

An incomplete grade not completed within the required period will automatically convert to an ‘F’. A faculty member may, at his or her discretion, extend the completion deadline for a student by notifying the Registrar’s Office in writing. A faculty member cannot extend the deadline beyond one year of the issuance of the incomplete grade without permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Services.

Final Grade Dispute Policy

In very rare instances, students may dispute a course grade. Such cases will be considered by a faculty-led review process described below. Every attempt should be made to preserve confidentiality for all involved in the process.

At any point during the process, the student may terminate the process and accept the original course grade. The Bentley University administration, including deans, has no authority to change course grades. Following are the steps to dispute a final course grade:

  1. All grading disputes shall begin with the student arranging a conference with the instructor. The student must initiate the dispute resolution process within 30 days of the posting of the final course grade.
  2. If the dispute has not been resolved after the student-instructor conference, the student may choose to request a conference with the department chair of the instructor’s primary department, which is normally the department in which the course is offered. If the course in question has a course coordinator (such as for the General Business courses), the course coordinator shall be included in this meeting, even if he or she is from a different department.
  3. If the instructor for the course with the disputed grade is the department chair, the student should contact the chair of the Faculty Senate and request a Hearing Committee.
  4. Prior to the conference with the department chair, a written, detailed explanation of the complaint, along with supporting documents, will be submitted by the student to the department chair.
  5. After the conference with the student, the department chair shall consult with the instructor:
    1. If the department chair believes that the instructor graded correctly, the process ends and the course grade will not be changed.
    2. If the department chair believes that the student may have been graded incorrectly, the department chair will suggest that the instructor consider reevaluating the course grade.
  6. If the instructor still does not believe a course grade change is warranted, the department chair shall request that the chair of the Faculty Senate convene a Hearing Committee of three tenured faculty members to resolve the case.
  7. The chair of the Faculty Senate is directed to choose by lot three tenured faculty members from all eligible faculty members. Members of the instructor’s primary academic department are ineligible. The chair of the Faculty Senate will ask the three member hearing Committee to select a committee chair, who will inform the instructor’s department chair that the Hearing Committee has been formed, except in the case where the instructor is the department chair.
  8. The Hearing Committee will examine all evidence from the instructor and from the student disputing the course grade. Within one week of the Hearing Committee’s final decision, written findings and the Hearing Committee’s decision will be forwarded to the student, instructor, department chair and course coordinator, if appropriate.
    1. If the Hearing Committee rejects the assertion by the student that the course grade is incorrect, the process ends and the grade will not be changed.
    2. If the Hearing Committee decides in favor of the student and the instructor is unwilling to follow the Hearing Committee’s recommendation, the Hearing Committee shall direct the registrar to replace an F or other grade with an S grade. The course counts toward graduation, but is not included in the student’s grade point average.
  9. Within 10 days of receiving the Hearing Committee’s written decision, the student must respond in writing to the Hearing Committee chair, accepting either the Hearing Committee’s decision or the original grade. If the student does not respond, the original grade stands. Then the Hearing Committee will inform the registrar, department chair, instructor, course coordinator and student of the outcome of the dispute process.

Return to Studies After an Absence of Five Years or More

Students requesting to return to Bentley to resume their studies after an absence of five years or more are subject to the degree requirements in place at the time of their return. When possible, credit for courses previously completed at Bentley will be applied to meet the new program degree requirements with review by relevant departments. Students returning to Bentley to resume their studies within the five year period may follow the degree requirements in place at the time of their original matriculation at Bentley.