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Students are expected to know and abide by University and SPH Policies.

Benchmark courses are major requirements that must be completed by a specific semester once the major is declared. Failure to complete your benchmark courses on time may result in you being dismissed from the major. View additional information about benchmarks. Benchmarks are a part of the university’s Student Academic Success - Degree Completion Policy.

Only a few groups of students, noted below, have mandatory advising in SPH. However, it is highly recommended that all SPH students seek academic advising each semester.

New students - All new transfer and first-semester freshmen in the School of Public are required to have mandatory advising. Freshmen complete this requirement during their required freshmen seminar course, UNIV100. Transfer students are required to complete academic plans (see Academic Plan below) and meet with their departmental advisors.

Academic Probation, Dismissal, and Re-enrollment - Students will be placed on Academic Probation if their cumulative GPA falls below 2.0. These students are required to have regular advising during their probation semester(s). View additional information about Academic Probation, Dismissal, and Re-enrollment.

Student Athletes - All student athletes in the School of Public Health are required to meet with an academic advisor at least once prior to registering for classes in the Fall and Spring semesters. View additional information about Student Athletes.

All SPH students with 75 or more credits are expected to complete a senior audit with a departmental advisor. A senior audit gives students a chance to review the courses they have taken to ensure they have been recorded correctly. It also allows students to verify the courses/credits they are missing in order to meet graduation requirements.

All students will prepare individualized plans for completing their specific SPH major in accordance with its degree requirements. Students will develop an academic plan when they enter the School, whether that is as a new student or through the change of major process. Students are encouraged to periodically update their plans with the assistance of their academic advisors. The academic plan is part of the university’s Student Academic Success - Degree Completion Policy.

Students must apply for graduation by the end of schedule adjustment for the semester in which they plan to earn their degree. Students can apply for graduation on Testudo.

View additional information on graduation.

NOTE: Students must be enrolled in all remaining degree requirements in order to walk in that semester ceremony. If remaining courses will be completed after commencement, the student will not be permitted to walk until the following semester.

SPH Exception to Policy Requests

Note that this exception to policy request system is only for current SPH majors and is only for review of exceptions to university policies.  If you are requesting an exception to departmental policy (examples: permission for specific courses, exceptions for pre-requisite courses, course substitutions, etc.), you must contact your department to make this request.  If you do not see the exception request you want in the drop-down menu, it is most likely an exception that needs to be reviewed by your department.  If you are unsure where to submit your request, you can email to ask.  


Submit your request through the Google form linked in the appropriate section below. If your request requires inclusion or discussion of very sensitive or confidential information, please complete the form with the bare essentials, indicate you have additional information, and bring that additional material to the SPH Center for Academic Success and Achievement in SPH 0222 (when the university is operating normally) or use this form to send the information via SecureShare; direct email of sensitive information is not recommended.

Please allow 10 business days for your exception request to be reviewed and to receive a response.  If it has been more than 10 business days, you may check on your request by contacting

Student Acknowledgement

I understand that in striving for equitable treatment of all students, the School of Public Health strictly adheres to University policies regarding registration and schedule adjustment. I have read the relevant policy in the Undergraduate Catalog and/or the deadline date for registration/adjustment transactions given in the Schedule of Classes. I understand that exceptions to these policies and deadlines are granted by the School only under extreme and unusual circumstances. I also understand that if any of the information provided is false, academic dishonesty procedures can be lodged against me.  By submitting a request, I am acknowledging that such requests are for truly unusual and/or mitigating circumstances, are not without limit and are not remedies for errors in judgment.

Exception to Policy Request Forms

During pre-registration, the time period in which students initially register for the upcoming semester, all students are limited as to the number of credits in which they may enroll.

Policy: Undergraduates may not exceed the following maximum credit loads:

  • 20 credits in a 15-week semester
  • 8 credits in a 6-week summer term
  • 4 credits in an accelerated 3-week term

Only in the most unusual circumstances will exceptions be granted for exceeding maximum credit limits.

The 16 credit limit during pre-registration is designed to give all students equal access to a full schedule. On the first day of classes, any student who is not on probation or dismissal will be able to register for up to 20 credits. The following exceptions will be considered prior to the first day of class:

  • Students wishing 17 credits who are not on probation or dismissal.
  • Students who could graduate in the current semester and are not on probation or dismissal.
  • Students who have over a 3.0 and regularly have taken more than 16 credits per semester.

If you do not meet one or more of these criteria, your request is not likely to be approved. 

Credit Overload Form

Policy: An undergraduate student may drop up to 4 credits between the end of Schedule Adjustment and the 10th week of classes for fall and spring full-semester classes (and a comparable amount of time for half semester classes, winter term, and summer terms). Consult the schedule of classes for exact dates each semester. However, if the course carries more than four credits, the student may drop the entire course, or, in the case of a class with variable credit, up to four credits.

Procedures: This is a very important policy at the University. If stress, illness, or work is affecting one class, it is affecting all classes. It is not possible to manipulate the GPA by picking those classes to drop above 4 credits. The student should explain in detail below why an exception to this policy should be considered. The student may be asked to provide documentation and will be requested to meet in person before an exception will be granted.

Dropping More Than 4 Credits After Schedule Adjustment Ends Form

Policy: Grading method (including pass-fail) may only be changed during the schedule adjustment period. Only under very unusual situations will exceptions to this policy be considered.

Procedure: Clearly describe the justification for such an exception below. You may be asked to provide additional documentation and/or to have a meeting concerning this request after your Exception to Policy Request has been received.

Grading Method Change Form

Policy: Courses may not be added after the schedule adjustment period (first 10 days of classes for full semester classes in the fall and spring semesters; the first 5 days of classes for half-semester classes; the first 5 days of classes for Summer Sessions I and II; and the first 3 days of classes for Winter term and 3 weeks accelerated Summer courses). It is the student's responsibility to register by this date (actual dates for each term can be found on Testudo and in the Schedule of Classes). Under no circumstances will a student be added to a class that they have not been attending after the schedule adjustment ends.

Procedure: To add a class late the student will need to have the instructor of the desired class send an email to stating that the student has been coming to the class and that they are willing for the student to add the class late. The student will also need a stamp in the Student Information System from the department offering the class (an Over-subscription if the class is full or a By Permission Only if the class is not full). You will be notified by email when all permissions have been received. If permission is granted, you will still need to register for the class in Testudo. This should be done as soon as possible as there will be a time limit on late registration.

Late Add Class Form

Policy: The drop period for undergraduate students begins at the close of the schedule adjustment period and terminates at the end of the tenth week of classes for the fall and spring semester and at a comparable time for summer and winter sessions (see Testudo or the Schedule of Classes for exact dates for each term). It is the student's responsibility to be sure that they are only registered for classes that they are attending at the end of schedule adjustment. Failure to drop classes in a timely manner during schedule adjustment precludes other students from getting into those classes. During the drop period, students are allowed to drop a maximum of four credits. The student will receive a "W" for any course dropped during the drop period and the course will count as an attempt of that course.

In some cases where the student never attended the class in question, a retro-drop may be requested such that the student would not receive a "W" on their transcript.

Procedure: If the semester in which the course is on the student's record is in progress, the student should first drop the class. Then the student should request that the instructor of the class send a email to stating that the student never attended the class. If the semester when the course is on the student's record has ended, after submitting this request the student will be notified if input from the instructor is necessary (many professors note when students have never attended in the Student Information System). The student will receive an email as to the resolution of this request.

Retro Drop Form

Policy: There are two different ways in which an undergraduate student may enroll for graduate credit:

Undergraduate credit for graduate-level courses. Subject to requirements determined by the graduate faculty of the department or program offering the courses, an undergraduate student may register for graduate-level courses (those numbering 600-898, excluding 799) for undergraduate level credit. The credits so earned may not be applied to a graduate program at a later date.

Concurrent undergraduate-graduate registration. In this case, the student would register for a graduate class (600 or above) and receive graduate credit for it. The course will be recorded as "for graduate credit" and may be applied to an advanced degree. The graduate credits earned in this way will not count toward any of the requirements for the Baccalaureate degree. When an undergraduate student takes undergraduate and graduate courses concurrently, the total credits of registration can not exceed 18.

Requirements. Students seeking to take a graduate course in either manner outlined above must be degree-seeking, should be of junior standing, have a 3.0 or better, and have completed any pre-requisite to the desired course with a B or better. No more than twelve graduate credits can be taken by students while enrolled as undergraduates.

Procedures: Students wishing to take a graduate course for undergraduate credit should complete the information below and then contact the instructor of the course. If the Department or Program offering the course consents to the student's enrolling in the course, they should be asked to place a By Permission Stamp for the course in the Student Information System. Once the Departmental stamp appears, if the student meets all conditions for registration in a graduate class, permission will be granted for the student to take the class and they will be notified that they can enroll.

Students wishing to enroll in graduate courses for graduate credit should complete the information below. In the justification section, they must present a plan of study that shows that taking graduate courses will not unduly delay the completion of requirements for the bachelor's degree. If qualified, the student will be contacted to pick up the Dean approved Graduate Credit Permission Form to take to the Department offering the course and to the Graduate School for approval. Once all approvals have been received, the student will be notified that they can register.

Register for a Graduate Course Form

Policy: Students who began at the University of Maryland after the summer of 1990 may repeat no more than 18 credits (see Campus Repeat Policy in the Undergraduate Catalog). All courses in which the student is enrolled at the end of schedule adjustment count as attempted credits (e.g. courses in which the student has earned a “W” are counted). Being granted an exception to this policy will be rare and based on many factors. In some cases, additional documentation may be requested.

Critical Note: if you repeat a course for which you have received a grade above F, you will earn NO new credits when you take it the second time.

Repeating Over 18 Credits Form

Policy: There is a limit to the number of times a student may repeat a course (See Campus Repeat Policy in the Undergraduate Catalog). Students who began at the University of Maryland fall 1990 and after may have only one repeat of any class in which they have been enrolled after the schedule adjustment period (this includes classes from which the student withdrew with a “W”). Only under the most extraordinary circumstances will a student be allowed to take a class for a third attempt. In some cases, additional documentation may be requested.

Critical Note: when you repeat a course in which you received a grade above F, you will earn NO new credits when you take it the next time.

Repeating a Course More Than Once Form

Policy: Students can not reasonably engage in classes which meet at the same time. There are situations, however, when the time scheduled for a class is flexible. In these cases, a time conflict will be considered.

Procedure: The student should ask the instructors of the classes involved to send an email explaining why the time conflict will not be a problem (this may be because a class does not really meet at the time listed in Testudo, because the student has the option of meeting at a different time, etc). The email should be sent to and include the student’s name and the course in question. In the case of activity classes, there is a reasonable period of overlap allowed if both classes are in the same building and the student is willing to forego time for dressing and showering. An email from the instructor is not necessary.

Time Conflict Form

Attending a later SPH commencement ceremony

Policy:  Students are expected to attend commencement ceremonies during the semester in which their degree was earned.  This applies for both the university-wide ceremony as well as the School of Public Health ceremony.  Under NO circumstances are SPH students permitted to attend a commencement ceremony earlier than when they earn their degree.

Procedures:  There may be a reason as to why a student would like to attend an SPH ceremony later than the semester in which they earned their degree. Students should fill out this form including justification as to why this should be considered.

It is important to note that this exception request is ONLY for the SPH ceremony.  The university-wide commencement ceremony is ticketed and only students who earn their degree in that semester are permitted to attend.  Additionally, students can only participate in one SPH ceremony.  If a student is granted permission to attend a later ceremony, they cannot also attend the one in which their degree was earned.  Finally, students should not fill out this exception request unless they have already earned their degree or are in the process of completing the degree in the current term. Requests can not be made several semesters in advance.  

If there are any questions about this form, students can contact our commencement coordinator, Erin Caporellie at  

If you would like to apply to attend commencement late, please use this form.

For other exception requests, provide the appropriate information on the Other Exception to Policy Request Form

Once a student has matriculated at the University of Maryland, students are expected to complete all remaining course work at UMD. Courses taken at another institution may not be credited toward your degree without approval in advance by the appropriate dean of the college in which you are a major. Only under extenuating and unusual circumstances will we consider granting permission to take degree requirements, including supportive requirements, away from UMD. Please be aware of the following policies and procedures.

University Policies
  • Last 30 Credits Students are expected to complete their last 30 credits at UMD.  However, students can request permission to take a maximum of 6 credits away from UMD during their last 30 credits.  These credits may only be included in the final 30 if approved in advance.
  • 60/90 Credit Rule:  UMD will accept for transfer a maximum of 60 credits from a two-year institution or 90 credits from a four-year institution which are appropriate to an approved curriculum at this institution.
  • Good Academic Standing:  Students must be in good academic standing (cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher) to request permission to take courses elsewhere.  No student who has a cumulative GPA below a 2.0 will receive permission to take courses away from UMD.
  • Transfer Equivalency:  Students should utilize UMD’s Transfer Equivalency Database to determine how courses at various institutions will transfer to the University of Maryland at College Park.  Certain courses may not yet appear in the database. This does not necessarily mean they will not transfer; only that they have not been presented for evaluation yet.   If the course is not listed in the database, students must have the course evaluated prior to submitting a permission to enroll (PTE) form.  Students must submit such courses for evaluation by sending a complete course syllabus to In most cases, new courses are posted to the web within a week.  Once the course equivalency is posted, students can proceed with the PTE.
SPH Policies
  • Fundamental English and Fundamental Math requirements must be taken at UMD once students have matriculated at UMD.
  • Electives:  Students can request to take general elective credits away from UMD at a 2- or 4- year institution.
Public Health Science Policies
  • All PHSC major requirements, including the science courses, must be taken at UMD
  • An exception to this policy is for study abroad. Up to 6 credits of PHSC Options can be taken abroad assuming they have been approved by the program. More information on study abroad and that course approval process can be found on the PHSC website.

After you have read and understood the above policies you can request permission to enroll at another university. Visit the Transfer Credit Center online database to determine which courses transfer and what their course equivalency is. Here's a guide to using the database. Be sure to read all footnotes as some classes can be brought in by an entering transfer student, but can not be taken once you matriculate at UMD. Then submit an online Exception to Policy Request Form and, after logging in, select Permission to Enroll at Another University. Please allow a minimum of 7 business days for your request to be reviewed. During peak times (March - April and October - December) it can take at least 3 weeks to have a request reviewed, due to high volume.

Please log in with your credentials and click on Request Permission to Enroll to fill out the form.

Permission To Enroll at Another Institution