COVID-19: Essential Information

B.1.f. Course Registration and Conduct of Courses

1. Registration Procedure

Students register for fall, winter, and spring courses using the online registration system. Registration information is communicated to students, by e-mail, prior to the registration period, which consists of an advising period, a practice round, and a real-time registration round.

2. Course Load

A student's normal program consists of four courses in the fall and spring semesters and one course in the winter term. First-year students must be in residence for winter term and enrolled in an academic course.  Full-time students must take at least three courses per semester.

Sophomores and juniors may register for a fifth course during the fall or spring semester only with specific approval of their advisors and their Student Life Dean during the add/drop period using the special orange add card. Normally, this permission is granted to students who have maintained an average of B or better in the two preceding semesters. Seniors may register for five courses during the add period without their dean's or advisor's approval. The comprehensive fee remains unchanged for a three-, four-, and five-course program. Students may not take more than five courses per semester.

All entering first-year students register for a first-year seminar in their first semester at Middlebury. Students are encouraged to explore a range of subjects and select the remainder of their first-semester program in consultation with their advisors. Final registration for courses occurs after students have attended informational sessions on the various departmental offerings and have taken appropriate placement tests. In their first semester students may not take two courses in the same subject, may not register for more than one first-year seminar, may not receive college-writing (CW) credit for a CW course taken concurrently with the first-year seminar, and may register for only one beginning language in the fall term. In their second semester, first-year students may register for two courses in one subject with their advisor's approval.

Under certain exceptional circumstances, students may be permitted to carry fewer than three courses. When this request is based on a documented disability, students should apply to the Disability Resource Center (DRC) office. When this request is based on an exceptional personal circumstances, students may apply to the Administration Committee.  Students who receive approval for a reduced course load pay the full comprehensive fee. Students with reduced course loads should work closely with academic advisors to ensure their compliance with Middlebury’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

3. Pass/D/Fail Grading Option

Students may opt to take a course on a Pass/D/Fail basis under the following conditions:

a. Students may count toward graduation no more than a total of five courses with non-standard grading.  The category of “non-standard grading” includes courses elected under the Pass/D/Fail option; AP, IB, A-Level, and other pre-college testing credits; winter term and summer study honors/pass/fail courses*; and credit-bearing internships.  Of these five credits, only two may be taken under the Pass/D/Fail option. Specific guidelines concerning non-standard grading can be found in the College Handbook under Degree Requirements.

b. Students must be enrolled in at least three other courses with standard grading to take an additional course Pass/D/Fail.

c. Courses taken under the Pass/D/Fail option may not be used to satisfy distribution, College Writing, First-Year Seminar, or cultures and civilizations requirements.

d. Courses taken under the Pass/D/Fail option may not be used to satisfy major or minor requirements, with one exception: a first course taken under the Pass/D/Fail option in a department or program in which a student subsequently declares a major or minor may, with the approval of the department chair or program director, be counted toward major or minor requirements.

e. Students may elect the Pass/D/Fail option, for a course in which they are already registered, during the first four weeks of the semester.  Students must turn in a completed Pass/D/Fail application by the end of the fourth week of classes.  The deadline for changing a course from Pass/D/Fail to standard grading is the drop deadline (i.e., the end of the fifth week of the semester). Students must email the Registrar's Office with their intent to revoke Pass/D/Fail by the end of the fifth week of classes.

f. Winter Term: Students may not elect the Pass/D/Fail option for winter term courses which are otherwise offered with standard grading.  Occasionally the Curriculum Committee gives an instructor permission to offer an entire course as pass/fail or honors/pass/fail; if a student takes one of these courses, it will not count as one of his or her two Pass/D/Fail courses, but it will count toward the total of five courses with non-standard grading a student may count toward graduation*.

g. Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and Study Abroad: Students may not elect the Pass/D/Fail option for courses taken abroad or at MIIS. However, courses taken at MIIS or within an approved study abroad program that are offered in their entirety as pass/fail—including study abroad internships—will not count as one of the two Pass/D/Fail courses, but will count toward the total of five courses with non-standard grading a student may count toward graduation.

h. A grade of Pass will not be calculated in the student’s GPA. The grades of D and F will be calculated in the GPA.

*NOTE: Winter term or summer study pass/fail courses are not counted in the maximum 5 non-standard grade course total for students who matriculated in the fall 2016 semester or later.

4. Auditing

With advance permission of the instructor, a regularly enrolled student may audit other classes. The instructor establishes the conditions under which the student may audit. A student may request official audit status, in which case the course will be recorded on his or her transcript with "AUD" in the grade column. In order to obtain official audit status, the student must make a request to the instructor, and they must agree in writing on the conditions of satisfactory completion. Students must register for audited courses during the normal add period. After the end of the add/drop period, no student may change his/her audit status without approval from the Administration Committee. In no case may the student receive credit for auditing.

Community members living in the Middlebury area may audit courses only with the permission of the instructor and the dean of curriculum or designee. Community members interested in auditing a course at the College, must complete the Community Member Audit Request form and obtain the requisite signatures indicating approval. The audit status, if approved, is not officially recorded and there is no academic transcript kept in these cases. Current high school students may not audit courses at Middlebury College.

5. Change of Course Registration

Immediately following the online registration period and through the end of the second week of the fall and spring semesters, course additions may be made if students have the consent of the instructor of the course into which the student wishes to enroll. Students must turn in their add cards by the end of the second week of classes.

Students may not add a course after the deadline. Petitions for exceptions to this rule will be considered by the Office of the Registrar, and, if approved, a charge of $50 per add will be assessed.  The Office of the Registrar may forward to the Administration Committee any petitions for which the registrar requests faculty review and a committee decision. A student may withdraw from a course without receiving a failing grade up to the end of the fifth week of the semester.

After the fifth week of classes, a student may petition the Administration Committee in writing to withdraw from a course for exceptional personal reasons, which may include but are not limited to significant injuries and non-chronic illnesses. The petition should be endorsed by the student's Student Life Dean. Students may petition the Disability Resource Center staff to withdraw from a course for reasons based on a documented disability. If permission is granted, the course will be removed from the student's transcript; if it is denied, the student will remain on the roster for that course. Withdrawals for other reasons are not permitted after the end of the fifth week. A student may also petition the Administration Committee to correct the student's enrollment if the student provides written confirmation from the instructor that the student did not attend the class. If permission is granted, a charge of $50 per dropped course will be assessed. A student who fails to complete the work of a course will receive a failing grade in that course.

During winter term, course changes are made by the same procedures, but the add/drop period ends at the end of the third day of classes during the winter term. Requests to add a winter term course after this deadline are automatically charged the late fee of $50.

Students who add a class late do so at their own risk. They will not be permitted to use a late start as the reason for dropping a course after the deadline.

6. Size of Classes

Fall or spring semester course enrollment may not be limited or cut off during registration without permission of the VPAA/DOF or designee. This restriction does not apply to first-year student seminars, College Writing courses, seminars, language and laboratory sections, and studio courses. Department chairs are responsible for ensuring that there are an adequate number of openings for incoming first-year students in September and February.

A list of all courses in which six or fewer students are enrolled will be referred to the VPAA/DOF or designee after completion of a registration period. The advisability of offering such courses for the current semester will be discussed promptly with the department chair involved. Enrollment in winter term courses is limited. (See "Winter Term".)

7. Class Meeting and Scheduling

Instructors are expected to conduct classes at the time and place scheduled. Regularly scheduled classes are not held between the hours of 4:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Evening classes are permitted on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Evening classes on other nights must be approved by the VPAA/DOF or designee. No intercollegiate athletic contests will be scheduled for Monday evenings.

Individual faculty requests for changes in the published schedule must be approved by the department chair and dean of curriculum before such changes take place. Other requests for use of classrooms must be approved by the course scheduler.

Most courses meet for three hours per week with the exception of laboratory, drill, and discussion meetings. Department chairs are responsible for ensuring that scheduling information is included on the department course information forms.

8. Attendance

Individual instructors set attendance policies. They should announce these policies during the first week of classes. A student's grade in a course may be reduced for nonattendance.

The Student Life Deans are charged with the responsibility of granting substantiated excuses for absences from class if warranted by compelling personal circumstances, observance of religious holidays, illnesses, or injuries. Please note that dean's excuses for class absences are granted only under exceptional circumstances, or where there are repeated or prolonged absences involved. Most concerns about class absences should be worked out between the individual student and the faculty member, in the context of the faculty member's own policies on class attendance. The Student Life Dean may provide an "Explanation of Absence" for athletic absences.

A student who is absent from a pre-announced examination without excuse receives a failure for the examination and is not granted the privilege of making it up.

A student who fails to attend the first two hours of class loses his or her space in the class, unless excused in advance.

Guidelines for Handling Athletics-Explained Absences

The list of scheduled athletics contests you receive several times a year from the director of Athletics has been approved by the Athletic Policy Committee of the faculty (APC) acting under guidelines set forth in the Middlebury College Handbook. This list tells you when legitimate absences from class may be expected by students because they are involved in a sanctioned athletic event scheduled for that date. The APC regards these lists as informative. They are an explanation for an absence, but they do not imply that the student is excused from the obligations of a course or the class work missed.

Although faculty members are expected to make their policy on course attendance clear at the beginning of each course, it is the individual student's responsibility to consult with his or her instructor as to the effect of explained absences.

To the Professor:

Please read the guidelines for students and coaches in the following sections regarding "Explained Absences." Note that it is the student's responsibility to approach you in the first week of the course to identify possible conflicts between their athletics schedule and your course. However, it would be helpful if you, during the first week of classes, remind students of their obligation.

How you handle missed work is entirely up to you. However, it is the College's policy that athletics are an important part of a student's life at Middlebury. There are a number of possible solutions to missed work. For example, if a lab or discussion is missed, the student may be able to attend a different section meeting. If a paper is due, ask that the paper to be handed in prior to the student's leaving. If a lecture is to be missed, you may permit the student to record the lecture (with assistance from another student). We do recognize, however, that there are cases for which there is no satisfactory make-up possible. Please do your best to accommodate the student without sacrificing academic rigor.

After a student has approached you, please:

1. Identify work that will be missed.

2. Do your best to find a solution to missed material.

3. Communicate your decision clearly to the student. When a student has approached you at the beginning of a semester regarding conflicts, it is your responsibility to communicate your decision on missed work before the end of the drop/add period.

Please note that if a student is involved in a winter or spring season sport, they may not be aware of scheduling conflicts until the semester or term is underway. Again, it is the student's responsibility to approach you as soon as his or her schedule is set to make arrangements regarding missed work, and it is your responsibility to communicate in a timely manner your decision on how to handle the missed work.

Additionally, at the beginning of the semester, you are encouraged to make students aware of any important class activities that will fall outside the normal class schedule of Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m. and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 7:30-10:25 p.m.

Note that missing a regularly scheduled class for a practice in no way constitutes an explained absence and is not expected or mandated by coaching faculty.

To the Student:

You should be given a list of dates and times of scheduled games by your coach no later than the first day of classes in any term or semester in which you are involved in a varsity/junior varsity sport, or in the case of winter or spring season sports, by whichever comes first, the first preseason meeting or the first day of practice (November 1 for winter, February 15 for spring). Compare each class schedule with your schedule of games. For any course in which you see a potential conflict between academic and athletic schedules, it is your responsibility to contact the professor during the first week of class, or as soon as the scheduling conflicts are known (for example, in the case of winter season sports that begin late in the fall term) and:

1. Identify times of conflict.

2. Together arrive at an understanding of how missed work/class might be made up.

Please note:

1. Professors will do their best to accommodate your needs within reason.

2. The professor will make the final decision as to how the missed work is to be made up. In cases where you approach the professor at the beginning of term, it is the professor's responsibility to arrive at this decision in time for you to drop/add if her/his decision is unsatisfactory to you. There are some cases for which there may be no satisfactory makeup possible.

3. Conflicts with official practices are also possible in the case of special class events, such as a guest lecturer. In such cases, you should discuss the situation with both your professor and your coach, and make a decision with full understanding of the ramifications of your decision.

4. Conflicts should be resolved through discussions between yourself, your professor, and your coach. If there are difficulties, you may consult with your Student Life Dean.

Note that missing a regularly scheduled class for a practice in no way constitutes an explained absence and is not expected or mandated by coaching faculty.

To the Coach:

Please read the statements for the students and the professors on the preceding sections and note your role in this process. We ask you to:

1. On or before the first day of each semester, or at the start of the season, give each student on the team you coach the list of contests that conflict with the normal 8 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Monday-Friday and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 7:30-10:25 p.m. class hours.

2. Remind students that it is their responsibility to contact each of their professors and identify potential time/work conflicts.

3. Explain to the students that there may be times when a practice needs to be missed for special class events (such as a guest lecturer). In such cases, the student should inform you of the potential conflict and discuss it with both you and the professor. It is important that students be able to make such decisions concerning conflicts with full information as to the ramifications of their decisions.

4. There will be times when it is in the best interest of the student to attend class rather than a game, and we encourage you to support the student in such a case.

We believe that your role as a coach is very important. Students often look more to their coaches than to their professors for guidance on these issues. It is important that you understand the College policy and do your best to help resolve conflicts between these two very important, but sometimes competing, aspects of students' lives at Middlebury.

To the Captains:

As a team leader, you should encourage your team members to meet with professors to discuss possible scheduling conflicts. Please ensure that your team members are aware of these guidelines on explained absences and understand that the process is one of negotiation among the coach, student, and professor.

9. Class Lectures and Presentations

Classroom lectures or presentations at the College are the intellectual property of the individual professor, Middlebury College, and/or both. The copying, publication, or distribution of any transcripts, audio, or video of such lectures or presentations without prior written approval of the individual professor is prohibited.

10. Religious Holidays

Middlebury College recognizes that the student body includes adherents of many faiths and that observance of religious holidays is an important part of religious practice for many students. The following policies have been established in order that students at Middlebury will not suffer academic penalties because of the conscientious observance of religious holidays:

It is reasonable to consider major religious holidays for the Middlebury student body as a whole to include the following: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the first day of Passover; Good Friday and Easter Sunday; Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Examinations should not be scheduled and papers should not be due on any of these holidays. Absences from class on these days because of observance of the religious holiday will be treated as excused absences. In addition, no student will be required to participate in or attend College events such as athletic contests, concerts, or outside lectures on these holidays.

The Office of the Dean of the College will include the dates of these major religious holidays on the academic calendars that are distributed to the faculty and published on the College's website. These calendars will indicate those instances in which the religious holiday begins on the previous evening.

Students whose conscientious religious observance requires their absence on days other than or in addition to those named above may make use of the following procedure prior to the holiday: The student should submit written notification of the pending religious holiday to his or her Student Life Dean at least one week before the holiday. The Student Life Dean will then inform the instructors of the student's courses that the absence on the religious holiday will be regarded as an excused one. Under these circumstances, a student missing an examination will be permitted to take a makeup exam without penalty, and a student with a paper due on a religious holiday will be permitted to submit that paper on the day immediately following the holiday, again without penalty.