Academic Policies and Procedures

Undergraduate Policies

The following academic policies of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs are applicable to all SPEA undergraduate programs regardless of the campus where they are offered. Additional policies at individual campuses may also apply to SPEA students.

Grading Policies  SPEA follows the official grading system of Indiana University, described in the introductory section of the bulletin.

Good Standing Students are in good academic standing when their semester and cumulative grade point averages are 2.0 or above, and their GPA in all courses included in the SPEA major requirements is at least 2.3. Students must be in good academic standing to graduate.


  1. Students will be placed on academic probation if any of the following occur:
    1. IU cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 2.0,
    2. Semester GPA falls below 2.0, or
    3. With at least 12 credits in the major, the SPEA GPA falls below 2.3.
  2. Student will be informed of their probationary status by letter.
  3. SPEA students on academic probation are required to participate in an approved intervention provided by SPEA during their first semester on academic probation.
  4. SPEA students will be continued on probation when their semester GPA is a 2.0 or above but their cumulative IU GPA is below 2.0.

Critical Probation

  1. SPEA Students will be placed on critical probation during the second term (consecutive or nonconsecutive) that their SPEA major GPA is below 2.3.
    1. The SPEA major GPA is considered when a student completes 12 or more credits in the major.
  2. If a student is making positive progress in their SPEA courses, but their SPEA GPA continues below 2.3, at the discretion of SPEA undergraduate student services, a student could continue on Critical Probation.
  3. Critical probation students must participate in intrusive advising and will create a strategic academic plan to return to good standing in consultation with their academic advisor.
  4. After the third semester in which a student’s SPEA GPA is below 2.3, the student could be dismissed if not making positive progress.
  5. Regardless of SPEA GPA, a student could be dismissed if his/her CGPA or semester GPA is below 2.0 for the second consecutive semester.


  1. SPEA students on probation who have completed a minimum of 12 IUPUI GPA hours are subject to dismissal if any of the following occur:
    1. They fail to attain a semester GPA of at least 2.0 for two consecutive semesters,
    2. Their Indiana University cumulative GPA is below 2.0 for two consecutive semesters, or
    3. They fail to attain a SPEA major GPA of at least 2.3 after any three semesters (consecutive or non-consecutive).
  2. Any SPEA student not making satisfactory progress could be dismissed at the discretion of SPEA Student Services and the appropriate program directors. This includes situations in which graduation is mathematically impossible.
  3. Students who are dismissed for the first time must sit out for a minimum of one regular (fall or spring) semester and must petition by the established deadlines to be eligible for reinstatement. Reinstatement is not automatic.
  4. Students dismissed two or more times must remain out of school for the next two consecutive regular (fall and spring) semesters and petition by the established deadlines to be eligible for reinstatement. Reinstatement after a second dismissal is extremely rare.

Freshman Dismissal

  1. SPEA students with less than 26 credits are subject to dismissal if they have attempted at least 12 credits (including Ws) and do not obtain a semester GPA of at least 1.0.
  2. Students with less than 26 credits who withdrew from all courses in a term are exempt from dismissal.
  3. Students who are dismissed for the first time must sit out for a minimum of one regular (fall or spring) semester and must petition by the established deadlines to be eligible for reinstatement. Reinstatement is not automatic.
  4. Students dismissed two or more times must remain out of school for the next two consecutive regular (fall and spring) semesters and petition by the established deadlines to be reinstated.


  1. Reinstatement will be the decision of the academic unit to which the students are petitioning.
  2. Students who are reinstated will be classified as probationary students until the IU CGPA is at least a 2.0. During the first regularly enrolled term on probation, the student must achieve a semester GPA and SPEA GPA of at least 2.3. In some cases students may be required to attain a higher semester or SPEA GPA as determined by the reinstatement committee. In each subsequent semester on probation, the student must achieve a semester GPA of at least 2.0 and SPEA GPA of 2.3. Failure to meet the semester GPA and SPEA GPA requirements while on probation could result in dismissal.
  3. Reinstatement after a second dismissal is extremely rare.
  4. Student’s chances of reinstatement will be enhanced by taking workshops, removing grades of incomplete, undertaking assessment of their academic problems, and providing evidence of their ability to complete successful academic work upon their reinstatement to IUPUI.

Acceptance of Grade Replacement  SPEA students who have retaken a course (must be same department and course number) may request to have only the last grade computed in their grade point average. If a student earns the same or a higher grade after repeating the course, only the second grade will be counted in the GPA.  Courses must have been taken in the fall semester of 1996 or later, and only on the IUPUI campus. Students may replace five grades for a total of 15 credit hours. Replacement does not happen automatically. Students must notify the school recorder that the course has been taken a second time and that they wish to exercise this option.

Grade Appeals A student may appeal a course grade at the completion of a course to resolve a grade discrepancy or a grade dispute. The appeal must be made within 90 days of the date when the grade was issued. In those rare instances when a student is unable to contact the professor who issued the grade, the student must give a notice of intent to appeal the grade within 90 days of the date when the grade was issued. The appeal should be made to the director of academic affairs.

Forgiveness Policy  This policy applies to former IU students pursuing a first undergraduate degree who have been away from the IU system and have not attended any other college or university, including any campus of IU, for the last five years. This policy first became available to students returning to SPEA in the fall of 1996. Students may apply for forgiveness upon application for admission to a degree-granting unit. If the student has not yet been admitted to a degree-granting unit, the student should submit a notification of intent to petition for academic forgiveness as part of the academic advising process. If the petition is approved, the student starts with a fresh cumulative grade point index, after which all the rules of academic probation and dismissal (for SPEA) will apply. The school will evaluate the student's transcript, and all courses taken previously will remain on the permanent record. Only credit hours for courses with grades C or above, P, or S may be counted toward degree completion. After approval, the student must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours on the IUPUI campus in order to meet the graduation residency requirement.

Student Rights and Responsibilities  SPEA IUPUI fully supports the rights and responsibilities of students as defined in the IUPUI Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. The Student Codespells out the expectations for faculty and students, and it provides the framework for SPEA's judicial process. 

A student is entitled to rights in the pursuit of his or her education; freedom from discrimination and harassment; and freedom of association, expression, advocacy, and publication. A student also has the right to contribute to university governance, to receive accommodations for disabilities, and to access records and facilities. In accordance with federal law, student records are confidential and are available to other persons only under specific conditions as outlined in university regulations.

A student is responsible for upholding and following all applicable codes of conduct, including the IUPUI Student Codeand SPEA's policy on classroom etiquette and disorderly conduct, and for obeying all applicable policies and procedures and all local, state, and federal laws. A student is responsible for facilitating the learning process, attending class regularly, completing class assignments, and coming to class prepared. In addition, a student is responsible for planning his or her own academic program, planning class schedules, and for meeting the requirements for his or her degree or certificate programs. Faculty and academic advisors are available to assist students in meeting this responsibility. A student is responsible for maintaining and regularly monitoring his or her university accounts, including e-mail and bursar accounts. A student is responsible for using university property and facilities in the pursuit of his or her education, while being mindful of the rights of others to do the same. A student is responsible for upholding and maintaining academic and professional honesty and integrity.

Academic Integrity  This is a basic principle of intellectual life that holds students responsible for taking credit only for ideas and efforts that are their own. Academic dishonesty violates that principle and undermines the bonds of trust and cooperation among members of the university community, and it is not tolerated.  Academic misconduct includes cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules, and facilitating academic dishonesty. Students are responsible for knowing what behaviors and activities constitute these different forms of academic misconduct. Penalties and procedures that are applicable when academic misconduct or dishonesty occurs are described in the IUPUI Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

Statement on Civility  SPEA, which is a professional school, expects students to conduct themselves in a courteous and civil manner in interactions with professors, staff and fellow students. Examples of discourteous behavior during class include reading the newspaper, working crossword puzzles, listening to headphones, using computers to surf the Web or for other non-class activities, talking or laughing with others, arriving late, and so forth. These behaviors are distracting to the instructor and to classmates, and SPEA faculty and staff will address these problems as they arise either in class or on an individual basis. Disorderly conduct that interferes with teaching, research, administration, or other university or university-authorized activity will not be tolerated, and it may result in disciplinary action, including possible suspension and/or expulsion from the university.

Sex Offenders Screening Policy for Students/Applicants  Indianapolis applicants should be aware that criminal convictions may result in ineligibility for participation in certain courses/activities within the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Questions regarding school policy on such matters should be addressed to the appropriate program director.

Other Policies Concerning Degree Requirements

Bulletin Policy  Students are expected to complete the requirements for their undergraduate degree within 10 years of admission to the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Students are allowed to continue beyond this time period only at the discretion of the undergraduate program director or campus director. If a student has not taken classes for three years or more, that student must satisfy program requirements of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in effect at the time of reactivation. Requests for deviation from requirements listed in the bulletin must be approved in writing by the program director, whose decision is final.

Hours Requirements  Students must successfully complete a minimum of 120 credit hours for most Bachelor of Science degrees. The campus at which a student completes the plurality of required course work will award the degree, provided that campus is authorized to grant the degree/major/concentration and that the student has been admitted to that campus. Students may not transfer any more than 90 credit hours (60 credits from a junior college) toward a Bachelor of Science degree. Class standing, based on total credit hours that count toward minimum degree requirements, is as follows: senior, 86 or more; junior, 56-85; sophomore, 26-55; freshman, fewer than 26.

Grade Point Average Requirement  A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for the B.S. degrees. In addition, a SPEA major GPA of 2.3 must be maintained in order to graduate. For students seeking certificates from SPEA, the minimum cumulative GPA requirement is a 2.0 or higher, and for students pursuing a minor the minimum cumulative GPA is a 2.3 or higher in all applicable course work.

Double-Counting  Generally, courses taken to meet a specific degree requirement cannot be double-counted (i.e., used to satisfy any other degree requirement). Students earning a SPEA major, minor, or certificate may double-count two courses across any allowable combination of these programs. The following restrictions apply: 1) students are limited to two minors and 2) SPEA students may not earn a certificate or minor in the same area as their major.

Application for Degree  All students must fill out an application for degree at the SPEA records office on their campus. This application should be completed by September 10 for a December graduation, or January 10 for a May or August graduation.

Degrees Awarded with Distinction  SPEA recognizes outstanding performance by awarding bachelor's and associate degrees with three levels of distinction to students who rank in the upper 10 percent of their SPEA graduating class and have completed a minimum of 60 hours at Indiana University for a B.S. (30 hours for an A.S.). The levels of distinction are as follows: highest distinction, 3.90 and above; high distinction, 3.70 through 3.89; distinction, 3.50 through 3.69.

Requirements for a Second Bachelor's Degree  Students must petition for approval to work toward a second bachelor's degree. If permission is granted, students are required to take 30 credit hours beyond the credits used for the first bachelor's degree and to satisfy all the requirements for the second degree. Generally, SPEA encourages students to work toward a graduate degree or graduate certificate rather than a second bachelor's degree.

Pass/Fail credit  A student in good academic standing may choose to take a maximum of eight elective courses (two per academic year) Pass/Fail for a B.S. degree or two courses for an A.S. degree. Deadlines for exercising this option are published on the registrar's office Web site and are strictly enforced.

Independent Study credit  With prior approval, a student may take three courses totaling no more than 10 credit hours by correspondence through the IU Division of Extended Studies, Independent Study Program. Under no circumstances may a student satisfy a core/major/concentration requirement by correspondence.

Internship creditWith SPEA faculty approval, a student in good standing may earn a maximum of 9 credit hours of elective credit through the SPEA internshipprogram. The SPEA internship program is described in more detail elsewhere in this bulletin.

Other academic programs  SPEA students may choose to pursue a minor or certificatefrom another school or department or within SPEA in an area other than their degree or major/concentration. Students interested in a minor should contact that department for additional information.