Enrollment policies at Earlham

Academic advising

At matriculation, every student is assigned an academic adviser who will help the student plan his or her course of study while at Earlham. It should be noted that while academic advisers assist students in this way, the responsibility for meeting all graduation requirements rests finally with the student. Once a student is ready to declare a major, he or she should arrange to have an academic adviser within that field or department. Forms for changing academic advisers are available from the Registrar’s Office. Students and advisers receive an Academic Audit at the beginning of each academic year, outlining outstanding General Education and credit requirements for degree completion.

Academic audits

At the beginning of each academic year, returning students receive an academic audit from the Registrar’s Office. The audit informs the student of his or her standing in terms of graduation requirements, indicating which requirements have been completed and which are still in need of completion. Students are advised to pay very close attention to the audit, and to remember that it is, finally, a student’s responsibility (not the academic adviser’s) to fulfill all graduation requirements in a timely way.

Academic credits

The credit or semester hour of credit is the unit of academic measurement at Earlham. Normally, a full-time student will earn 30-32 credits annually. With approval from the academic adviser, a student may take as few as 12 or as many as 18 credits during a single semester. Students who enroll in more than 18 credits should expect to pay an additional tuition fee per credit hour.

Academic majors and minors

The major usually consists of 10 to 14 courses in a single department, and may include one or more capstone requirements, such as a senior seminar, senior thesis or comprehensive examination. Guidelines for the major are established by the department. Students declaring an intention to major within a department must receive approval from the department’s faculty and must submit a Declaration of Major to the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of the fourth semester.

Minors are available in 36 departments and programs. Students should file their intention to minor in a field with the Registrar’s Office no later than the fifth week of the eighth semester.

Academic mediation: Appealing a grade

Students may appeal grades and evaluations on procedural grounds. That is, they may question whether the grade was awarded fairly, according to clear standards, and in a manner consistent with Earlham’s stated practices, such that, a grade may not be appealed simply on grounds of disagreement of the instructor’s evaluation. An appeal should begin with a conversation between student and instructor. If this discussion leads to no agreement, the student, possibly along with her or his adviser, should contact one of the deans in Academic Affairs. The senior associate vice president for academic affairs, the associate academic dean or registrar may advise the student on the merits of the case and shall, at the request of the student, mediate between student and instructor. This mediation must occur within one semester after completion of the course. A meeting of all parties or separate meetings of the dean with each party may be arranged. Sometimes the dean from Academic Affairs may recuse her/himself and refer the case to another dean within the academic administration.

If this mediation does not lead to a result agreeable to the parties, either or both may request a mediation hearing before an ad hoc Academic Mediation Board. A sean from Academic Affairs (or her/his designee) shall convene a board, composed of two faculty members and two students. The dean shall choose two faculty members and invite the student members from a short-list selected from the Student Judicial Council. Either the student appellant or the faculty member whose grade is being appealed may reject nominations to the board. Board hearings shall be recorded during the presentation and discussion of evidence with all parties present. The board shall meet in executive session for deliberation.

The Mediation Board will review the documents of the case and listen to both parties. It then meets by itself and frames a recommendation. The board shall consider itself charged to act equitably and in the interest of both parties as it seeks to determine if grading procedures were somehow faulty and if a remedy is feasible. By Earlham’s bylaws, grading is in the province of the faculty, and a Board’s recommendations may not force an instructor to change a grade.

If the board finds itself unable to reach a consensus, or if either party is unwilling to accept the recommendation of the Board or the other party’s response to it, then the convening dean shall confer with the academic dean and the clerk of the faculty to devise a way forward.

If the faculty member is no longer at the college, a dean from Academic Affairs will consult with the department convener to review work and work toward a resolution.

Accelerated degree

Highly motivated students who matriculate with credits (through Advanced Placement [AP] scores, the International Baccalaureate, or other transferred credit) may choose to accelerate the time in which they earn their Earlham degree. Please meet with the registrar as soon as possible to outline your degree plan.

Advanced placement

  • An AP score of 5 on the following exams earns the student 6 Earlham elective credits: Art History, English, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, any Foreign Language, History, Music, Physics B in year-long courses.
  • A score of 4 on the exams listed above earns the student 3 elective credits.
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the following exams earns the student 3 Earlham elective credits: Arts-Art and Design (2D and 3D), Drawing, Economics–Micro and Macro, Politics–U.S. and Comparative, Physics C, Psychology, AP Statistics, Environmental Science, Human Geography.
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam awards a student 3 elective credits.
  • A score or 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam awards a student 6 elective credits. A score of 4 or 5 on the “AB Subscore” portion of the Calculus BC exam awards a student 3 elective credits. Please note that if a student earns credits for the BC exam, the AB sub-score credits are not awarded. A maximum of six credits will be awarded for all AP Calculus scores.
  • A maximum of 30 combined AP/IB/Dual Enrollment credits can be awarded.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) credits do not count toward Earlham’s general education requirements.
  • All incoming students with foreign language experience must take the Earlham Language Assessment to be correctly placed in or out of language classes, irrespective of AP credits.
  • Students may seek departmental approval for placement into non-introductory courses.

Athletic eligibility

All students participating in a varsity sport are required to be registered as full-time students who are enrolled in a minimum of 12 academic credits prior to any competition.

Attendance policy

Students are expected to attend classes on a regular basis. Individual faculty may set specific requirements for their courses as indicated on course syllabi. Students who do not attend classes on a regular basis are reported to the Registrar’s Office. This behavior may jeopardize academic standing, federal financial support and continued matriculation at the College.

Auditing a course

  • With an instructor’s consent, a registered, full-time student may audit a course for no additional charge.
  • Students who intend to audit a course must confirm this intention before the close of a semester’s registration period.
  • Students who are enrolled in a credit-bearing course may not change their status from credit-bearing to an audit status after the close of registration.
  • Students who have audited a course may not retake the course for a letter grade.
  • Audited courses are reflected on a student’s transcript.
  • Non-Earlham students may request permission from both the instructor and the registrar to audit courses for a fee of $225 per course.
  • Persons 65 and older are charged $100 per course.

Course cancellation policy

  1. If a course is canceled due to lack of adequate enrollment, the faculty member will consult with the registrar and academic dean. Upon approval, the faculty member will notify the registered students and copy the registrar. Students should be advised to add another course to maintain full-time status.
  2. If the College cancels a course, the registrar will notify students and work with the Academic Dean and the faculty member in determining alternate arrangements for the academic semester.

Course fee

Some courses have additional fees that cover costs of specific materials. These fees are indicated on the Course Schedule.

Course load

Students making normal progress toward the Bachelor of Arts degree will earn 30-32 credits each year. With an adviser’s approval, a student may take as few as 12 or as many as 18 academic credits during a semester. Registering for more than 18 credits requires both an adviser’s signature, additional tuition fees, and the registrar’s approval.

Course numbering system

  • 100-200 level courses: First-year and sophomore courses
  • 300 level courses: Sophomore – junior courses
  • 400 level courses: Junior – senior courses;
    includes senior research, thesis or projects, and independent studies

Course by special arrangement

In rare instances, a student may arrange to take a course at a time when it is not normally offered. This arrangement requires the written approval of both the instructor and a dean from academic affairs. This arrangement requires a fee of the part-time rate multiplied by credit hours. Permission of the instructor must be obtained and the fee paid before such arrangements are added to a student’s schedule and transcript upon completion.

Credit by examination and credit by evaluation

Students may petition to have the option of studying independently and successfully passing a special examination prepared by the instructor of a course in order to be granted credit for a regular Earlham course. Students pursuing this option are not permitted to sit in on the regular course before taking the examination.

  • Permission of the instructor must be obtained and the fee paid before such examination is given.
  • Requests for credit by evaluation must be submitted to the registrar. A dean from Academic Affairs and the department review these requests. Such credit is considered if the academic work is determined as equivalent to a regular Earlham College course.
  • Special forms for credit by examination and evaluation are available in the Registrar’s Office.
  • A fee of the overload rate per credit is charged and must be paid before the exam is taken or credit recorded.

Credit Hour

One credit hour expects one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work per week.

Credit/no credit

The credit/no credit option is available with the consent of the instructor, academic adviser and the registrar. Students must petition requesting to complete a course for Credit/No Credit by the first Friday after the close of registration. Students may not change this grading option after approval of the petition or the tenth class day. A student may not take the credit/no credit option in their major or minor.

Enrollment confirmation

Students are expected to confirm their enrollment in person on the designated Enrollment Confirmation Day, held two days before the first day of classes for each semester. At Enrollment Confirmation students verify their mailing/billing addresses, emergency contact information, and their full-time status for financial aid, scholarship and insurance purposes. Students must present their Student Identification Card for enrollment confirmation.

Students should review their accounts through Self-Service, available at theheart (Earlham’s portal) online, prior to enrollment verification to avoid delays. To be eligible to confirm enrollment, student accounts must be paid or cleared by the published deadline or appropriate arrangements made with the Accounting Office.

Enrollment Confirmation clearing through the Accounting Office (including approved payment arrangements) must be completed within 48 hours of the close of Enrollment Confirmation Day or the student is removed from all class lists until enrollment is cleared. Enrollment must be verified by the fifth class day or the student may be withdrawn from the semester.


The traditional letter grades “A” through “F” may be assigned alone, or with a plus or a minus.

Numerical Equivalents of Letter Grades for Transcripts:

  • A+ = 4.0 honor points; A = 4.0; A- = 3.7
  • B+ = 3.3; B = 3.0; B- = 2.7
  • C+ = 2.3; C = 2.0; C- = 1.7
  • D+ = 1.3; D = 1.0; D- =.7
  • F = 0.0
  • CR = 0.0 Credit; while a CR grade designation is equivalent to a grade of C or better, courses with CR grades are not computed into the grade point average (GPA). A CR may be given ONLY for an approved Credit/No Credit course and for AWPE activities courses.
  • NCR = No credit earned; this grade appears on a student’s transcript but is not computed in the student’s GPA.
  • The credit/no credit option is available with the consent of the instructor, academic adviser and the registrar. Students must petition requesting to complete a course for Credit/No Credit by the first Friday after the close of registration. Students may not change this grading option after approval of the petition or the tenth class day.  A student may not take the credit/no credit option in their major or minor.
  • The F grade is included in computing the GPA and is averaged into the GPA as 0. The former NP is no longer a grading option.
  • The I or incomplete is reserved for students who submitted an incomplete petition and whose petition was approved by an academic dean.
    Note: Incomplete petitions should be sent to the Registrar’s Office. Incompletes are available after the 15th week of the semester to students who have experienced a medical emergency or some other circumstance beyond their control that prevented them from completing coursework. The incomplete is not appropriate for students who have not managed to complete coursework in a timely manner.
  • The M grade is assigned to a student whose work is somehow implicated in a breach of academic integrity. For example, if a teacher is grading papers the week after graduation and discovers two identical papers, then the teacher should assign M grades to those papers. Once the truth about their integrity has been established (which might be delayed until fall semester), the teacher submits a final grade for the work. Teachers must notify the academic dean before assigning an M grade.
  • The NG (no grade) is reserved for those occasions when teachers find they are missing a piece of work from a student, which they believe the student did, in fact, submit. The NG serves as a placeholder on the student’s transcript until the teacher has figured out what happened to the work and is prepared to give the student a final grade. The NG is NOT intended for students who missed the incomplete deadline or for students who have missed deadlines for submitting work. Faculty members must convert all NGs to final grades by the end of the semester following the semester in which the NG was given. An unconverted NG automatically is recorded as an F or failing grade.
  • The RT (retake) indicates that a course has been retaken. Students must complete the petition to retake a course. Petitions are available in the Registrar’s Office and should be completed in a timely manner. A course may be retaken one time to improve a grade.

Grade point average (GPA)

The GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of honor points by the number of graded courses. In cases where an F is assessed, the faculty member forwards a written assessment of the student’s work, including reasons for failure to achieve a passing grade. A copy of the F assessment is sent to the student, to his/her adviser and to the student’s file in the Registrar’s Office.


College Honors are awarded to graduating seniors with cumulative grade point averages of 3.4 or higher.

Departmental Honors are awarded to students at the recommendation of the department, and only if they have met the following criteria:

  • Earned a 3.40 GPA in all graded courses during the junior and senior years.
  • Earned a 3.65 GPA in all upperclass courses within the major.
  • Passed the Senior Capstone Experience with distinction.
  • Earned honorable individual achievement in research study, creative performance, etc., as designated by the academic department or program.

International Baccalaureate

Students who receive scores of 5, 6 or 7 on higher-level subject examinations of the International Baccalaureate (IB) may receive a range of credits as indicated below with a maximum of 30 combined AP/IB/Dual Enrollment credits.

IB ScoreCredits

An official copy of the test results must be sent to Earlham’s registrar for evaluation of credits.

  • No credit is awarded for subsidiary-level courses.
  • It is not required that students be granted the IB diploma to receive transfer credit for an individual higher-level subject. These credits do not fulfill Earlham general education requirements. 

May term cancellation, enrollment and drop policies

  • If a May term course is canceled due to lack of adequate enrollment, the faculty member will consult with the registrar and academic dean.  Upon approval, the faculty member will notify the registered students and copy the registrar. If the College cancels a May term course for any other reason, the registrar will notify students.
  • Enrollment in a May term on campus course is allowed until the first class day.
  • Students enrolled in May term courses must drop the course by the day prior to the start of the May term course to have the course removed from their academic record. After that date, the faculty member will issue a grade that will be recorded on the transcript. Refunds are not considered. See May term fee policies.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States. The Society has pursued its mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776. Earlham is among nine percent of four-year colleges and universities nationwide and is one of only three liberal arts colleges in Indiana that have been granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Approximately 10 percent of each graduating class is elected to Earlham’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter each year.

Qualifying students have studied broadly and deeply in the liberal arts, and are of “good moral character.” Beginning in 2017, students also will have to have taken a college level math course before graduation. The math requirement can be met with the following courses and AP exam scores:

Math 120 (Elementary Statistics), 130 (Symbolic Logic), 180 (Calculus A), 190 (Discrete Mathematics), 320 (Differential Equations), or CS 310 (Algorithms and Data Structures) or 380 (Theory of Computation) or the AP exams as specified by the national organization (a Calculus AB score of 4 or 5, or a score of 3 in Calculus BC).

For more information, visit the Phi Beta Kappa website.


Students register for classes through Self-Service, available at theheart (Earlham’s portal) online. Academic advisers work with students to assist in decision-making about the courses to be taken. Each semester, students are notified via e-mail of the two-week academic advising period, one-week registration period and polices associated with registration.

A fee of $25 is assessed for late registration, with the following exceptions: students enrolled in off-campus programs, readmits, returnees from leave and new students.

Registration fees

For fees associated with enrollment policies, please consult the the registrar’s web site.

Retaking courses

A student may petition to retake any Earlham course — except an Earlham Seminar — as part of his/her regular semester course load. In such cases, the highest grade earned for the same course appears on the student’s transcript; only the highest grade is calculated into the student’s GPA. Academic credit is awarded only one time for courses that are retaken. The lowest grade is replaced with RT (Retake). The petition for retaking a course is available in the Registrar’s Office. A course may be retaken only one time toward grade improvement. The course credits count in the semester credit load.

If a student fails an Earlham Seminar, they are required to complete two Writing Intensive courses for degree completion. At the time of this completion, the “failing grade” in the Earlham Seminar will be changed to a RT.

Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid eligibility

Policy found under financial aid eligibility.

Senior capstone requirement

Effective August 2004, Earlham’s Comprehensives was re-labeled the “Senior Capstone Requirement.” Every academic major at Earlham culminates in a senior-year demonstration of proficiency and accomplishment in an area of study. This demonstration may be an examination, a public presentation or exhibit, completion of a thesis, or successful participation in a designated senior seminar. It may be some combination of these.

The faculty of the department or program shall determine the form of the Capstone Requirement and advise majors in a timely manner of its form. It is consistent with variety of majors that there be a variety of Capstone Requirements. All Capstone Requirements, however, must have these common features:

  1. Every program should devise and use means that adequately demonstrate achievement in the student’s work. The objective is to measure accomplishment. Results will continue to be accorded the grades of NP, P, HP or H. Completion with an H (Honors) will continue to be one of the requirements for Departmental Honors. (The grade of HP, that is “High Pass,” may be used to indicate greater discernment among passing grades.)
  2. Faculty in every program shall discuss Capstone results annually as part of its ongoing self-assessment.
  3. The Capstone Requirement will normally be completed in the student’s final year of residency, though preliminary work may begin a semester earlier.
  4. If it is practicable, programs should devise Capstone Requirements that students will complete at least 30 days before Commencement so that unsuccessful students may amend their performance in time for graduation. If such an arrangement is not practicable, then programs must provide sufficiently continual advice that errant students may improve their work in a timely fashion. Students who fail the Capstone Requirement twice may petition the associate academic dean, registrar and major department or program for permission for a third attempt. If the petition is approved, the student must wait six months before the third attempt.
  5. Accompanying the petition must be a detailed plan of preparation (or a plan for completing the seminar, project or thesis), a plan that has the written approval of the department or program convener. The petition must be submitted to the associate academic dean and registrar for approval at least six months before the student expects to receive his or her degree.

Student classifications

Regular degree-seeking students are those who were admitted to the College with the expectation of completing the Bachelor of Arts degree.

While attending Earlham, regular students who have earned 0-28 credits are classified as first-year students. Sophomores are those who have earned 29-58; juniors have earned 59-88; and seniors have earned 89 or more credits.

It is possible to earn an Earlham degree in any of our regularly offered majors within eight semesters, and most students who earn Earlham degrees complete them within this time. Some students choose to complete their degree in slightly less time, and some extend the time beyond four years.

Transfer students are defined as those who are admitted to the College having completed a semester of academic work in a degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university. Students seeking transfer status must be enrolled as degree-seeking students at an accredited college or university. Transfer students may seek credit toward general education and degree requirements from credits earned elsewhere.

Full-time students are defined as those taking 12 or more credits during a semester.

Half-time students are defined as those taking between 6 and 11 credits during a semester.

Less than half-time students are defined as those taking less than 6 credits during a semester.

Part-time students seek the degree while enrolled in fewer than 12 credits during a semester. Part-time status is generally granted only to seniors in their final semester as they complete degree requirements. These students must seek permission from the Registrar’s Office to pursue a degree as a part-time student. Students with disability status who seek part-time status must request a recommendation from the Director of the Academic Enrichment Center.

Dual enrollment students are high school students who complete college-level work that is counted toward the completion of their high school diploma. The student may add up to 30 combined credits (AP/IB/Dual Enrollment) toward their Earlham degree.

Special students include non-degree-seeking and postgraduate students.

High ability students: Local high school students who enroll in Earlham courses and choose to matriculate at Earlham can count those courses toward a maximum of 30 combined credits (AP/IB/Dual Enrollment) toward their Earlham degree.


An official transcript is available on request from the Registrar’s Office. Students and their faculty advisers may view their transcripts online through a password protected service.

  • Requests for official transcripts must be made in writing using a form available in the Registrar’s Office or online. Requests must include the following information: the student’s signature, some identifying information such as birth date or student identification number, legal name at the time of enrollment, an address to which the transcript is to be forwarded, and the date of the request.
  • Official transcripts may be requested only by the student whose name is on the academic record. Transcripts are not released to anyone else without a court order or signed release.
  • All financial obligations to the College must be met before transcripts are released.
  • Official transcripts are $5 each. Transcripts are processed on Mondays and Thursdays. Please allow 10 days from the receipt of the request for processing.
  • Unofficial transcripts are provided to currently enrolled students only.

Transferring credits

Earlham students who take part of their coursework, whether traditional or online classes, at another accredited college or university with the intent of transferring credit to Earlham should obtain approval in advance from the registrar and from the department(s) concerned. A maximum of 16 credits may be transferred. 

Note: Grades do not transfer.

Credit alone will transfer only if:

  • An Official Transcript is received by the Registrar’s Office directly from an accredited college or university after the coursework is completed
  • The student has received a grade of C or better
  • A course description and syllabus is provided to the registrar on request.

Courses submitted for transfer without prior approval are not accepted toward the Earlham degree.

Transferring general education credits

It is the intent of the Earlham Faculty that General Education courses be completed within the Earlham curriculum and that a student cannot meet an entire requirement area with transfer credits.

The importation of General Education credits by transfer students presents special difficulties, thus considerations of this shall be left to the registrar. However, the importation of outside credits by enrolled students should be avoided whenever possible. This may occur only with the prior consent of the Curricular Policy Committee on grounds of strong academic need and may in no case exceed eight semester hours of work. Outside credits also may not count for any of the first-year requirements.

Petitions for credit from non-Earlham courses in general education for the senior year must be presented by April 1 of the student’s junior year. CPC considers such petitions from seniors only if the senior fails a required General Education course. In that case, the senior may petition to have comparable work at another campus satisfy Earlham’s requirement. Questions may be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

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