Academic Policies and Exceptions Requiring Special Advising and/or Permission

The Office of the Dean of Studies has been eliminated effective July 1. Many of the functions of the Dean of Studies office have been moved to the new Academic Advising Resource Center/Registrar (AARC). The AARC is located in the Carnegie Building; the entrance is on Professor Street. For advising support, please call (440) 775-8828 or send e-mail to Office of the Dean of Students will now handle International Student Resources and Medical Leaves. The Office of the Registrar will continue its functions though it is now part of AARC.

Please contact the Office of the Dean of Studies if you need permission or advice regarding the following policies:

Change of Divisional Status

At Oberlin it is possible for a student to request a change of divisional status if the request is made in a timely fashion and if the student meets the entrance requirements of the appropriate division.


This category generally applies to students who are participating in programs sponsored by individual departments of Oberlin College: the Danenberg Oberlin-in-London Program, the Oberlin in Italy Program, and the Studies in Spain at the University of Córdoba Program.

Final Exam Time Changes

An individual student may not take a final examination at other than the scheduled time—not even at the time allocated to other sections of the same course—without special permission from the Office of the Dean of Studies (for courses in the College of Arts and Sciences) or the Associate Dean in the Conservatory (for courses in the Conservatory).

Finish Away Status

Oberlin College allows students to complete their degree requirements away from campus under certain regulations.


In the College of Arts and Sciences there are two kinds of incompletes – Educational and Emergency. All requests for incompletes and extensions of incompletes for Arts and Sciences courses can only be authorized by the Office of the Dean of Studies.

Marching at Graduation

The Oberlin College policy on participation in Commencement exercises states that students must be registered for work sufficient to complete, by the end of the last semester in residence, all requirements for the degree(s) sought, in order to be eligible to participate in the annual Commencement exercises.

Midterm Grades

Each semester, faculty members submit midterm grades to report on the progress of students enrolled in their courses.  Midterm grade options are:

S  Satisfactory (working at a level appropriate to the current stage of the course
R  Risk of failure (borderline performance)
U  Unsatisfactory performance (likelihood of failure unless there is a significant improvement; not working at appropriate level, skipping classes or not submitting work on time)
N  Not in attendance (student has never joined the course in person or has informally withdrawn)

Faculty post midterm grades by the end of the day on Tuesday following both fall and spring breaks and students may view midterm grades two days later on Thursday following fall and spring breaks.

Students are encouraged to discuss midterm grades of R, U, and N with the faculty members who awarded them, and with the student’s advisor.

Overload Status (taking > 4.5 Courses/18 Credits)

Oberlin students are required to take a full schedule of courses each semester. An Arts & Sciences student wishing to take more than 4.5 courses/18 credits must obtain approval from the Dean of Studies. To start this process complete the Petition to Register for > 4.5 course/18 credits and schedule an appointment with a dean of studies if directed to do so on the form.  (Conservatory or Double Degree Students who wish to register for more than 24 credits must submit their request to the Associate Dean of the Conservatory.)

Petition to Register for > than 4.5 courses/18 credits

Part-Time Status

Oberlin students are required to take a full schedule of courses each semester. Under limited circumstances, a student may request part-time status for a semester—i.e., fewer than 3 and one-half courses (14 credits) in the Arts and Sciences, or fewer than 16 credits in the Conservatory and double-degree program. Normally, requests to register part-time are considered only from students entering their final semester.

More information is available here.

Private Reading Courses

Students who wish to pursue a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may register for a private reading course. This one-to-one tutorial is normally at the advanced level in a specific field and is arranged with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student.

'Summer' Winter Term

Under a limited set of circumstances, an Arts and Sciences student may request permission to complete a Winter-Term type project during the summer. Such a project can only be authorized by the Office of the Dean of Studies.