Academic Policies and Petitions

There are a variety of academic requirements and policies to be aware of as a student in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). Detailed information about policies impacting all University of Minnesota students is available in the University Policy Library. More general information specific to CLA students is provided below. 

CLA Degree Types and Requirements

Most CLA students graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.  However, CLA also offers Bachelor of Music (BMus), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Individualized Studies (BIS), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). The degree you receive will be determined by the major program you choose to follow. 

Requirements for a CLA degree vary slightly depending on the program you choose to follow. All students are required to complete liberal education requirements as the basis of their degree program. All BA and BIS degrees, regardless of major, require students to complete CLA's second language requirement.

You will work with your advisors to choose a major program that fits your interests, your academic goals, and your long-term professional goals.

Academic Progress

A minimum 2.0 GPA is required in your University of Minnesota coursework overall. Each semester, the college publicly recognizes superior academic performance through the Dean's List. If your cumulative or term GPA falls below a 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation based on university policy, and are encouraged to review and address questions about CLA’s probation practices with your assigned CLA advisor. 

You need to take an average of 15 credits each semester (and a minimum of 13 credits per term) to graduate in four years.

Graduating With Distinction or With Honors

Students who complete at least 60 semester credits at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus may graduate with distinction, if their cumulative GPA is 3.75 or higher, or with high distinction, if their cumulative GPA is 3.90 or higher. Students interested in graduating with Latin honors - Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude - must participate in the University Honors Program.

Petitioning CLA for Exceptions to Policies

CLA understands that as a student, you may face unexpected extenuating circumstances that interfere with your daily life and ability to fulfill your academic obligations. When this happens, we encourage you to work with instructors, your advisor, and other support resources (such as the Disability Resource Center, health care providers, family members or others) to determine the best way forward. In some cases, it may be appropriate to request a policy exception through the Student Scholastic Standing Committee (SSSC), also known as the CLA Scholastic Committee. SSSC is made up of CLA advisors and staff and considers requests based on extenuating circumstances. 

What’s an extenuating circumstance?

Typical extenuating circumstances can be but are not limited to: new diagnosis or exacerbation of mental or physical health impacts, disability barriers, temporary illness or injury, violence or abuse, chemical dependency, and death in the family. Factors not typically considered an extenuating circumstance: heavy work schedule, family commitments, “getting in over your head.”

How do I petition?

Petitions to be reviewed by SSSC should be submitted to your assigned advising office. You will be notified via your University email address when a decision is reached. Typically, you can expect a response in about two weeks during the academic year, sometimes longer in the summer. 

Completed petitions typically include:

  • Academic Policy Petition form
  • Personal statement detailing extenuating circumstances. If requesting a late (during the term but after the deadline) or retroactive (after the last day of instruction before finals) registration change, you must explain why you were not able to take action by the deadline.
  • Supporting documentation, such as:
    • Medical Supplement
    • Letters from healthcare providers
    • Copies of legal documents
    • Letter or email from an instructor approving a late add
    • Instructor verification forms for retroactive withdrawals
    • Obituary in the case of the extenuating circumstance being the death of a third party (family member, friend, etc.).

Please make sure to include all relevant course information (Including section number and five-digit course code, credits, grade basis), and sign your petition. Note that an advisor does not need to sign the petition, but we do encourage you to discuss the petition with your advisor prior to submission to ensure it is complete. A member of SSSC will contact you if additional information is required. Submission of an incomplete petition may delay its review. 

Approved petitions need to be picked up from your advising office and dropped off to One Stop Service Center. If you are unable to pick up your petition, please let SSSC or your assigned advisor know.

Original petition documents are returned to you. Copies become part of your educational record, but are protected in the same manner as other student data and accessed only on a need-to-know basis by staff for the purpose of assisting you in your educational journey. 

Common Petitions:

  • Listed below are the most common types of requests considered by or on behalf of SSSC. 
  • Late or retroactive withdrawal from a course or courses
  • Late or retroactive addition of a course or courses
  • Grade base change 
  • Enrolling in a course a third time
  • Maximum Credit Override (take more than 20 credits during fall and spring, or 15 credits during summer)
  • Modification of the second language requirement on the basis of disability (originates through the Disability Resource Center, they submit to SSSC).
  • Returning to CLA/ the University following academic suspension-this is submitted to the advisor not the committee 
  • One time only late withdrawal 

Additional links and handouts are coming soon! If you have questions or if your situation is not included above, contact your assigned advisor/advising office.