Registration, Enrollment, and Withdrawal

Registration and Enrollment

Course Registration

Registration must be for a specified number of courses. Regardless of the number of course credits previously earned, degree candidates must elect at least the minimum number of three courses required each semester. The faculty adviser's signature is required for the initial schedule each semester and for subsequent changes.

Course Cancellation

The University reserves the right to cancel any course for which fewer than eight students are registered, or for other cogent reasons.

Courses That May Not Be Elected for Credit

No credit will be given (nor may a second grade be earned) for a course previously passed or for a course with content similar to one previously completed. (A list of such cross-listed courses is published in each semester’s Schedule of Classes.) In addition, courses that have been audited may not be taken subsequently for credit. Language courses that are below the student’s language placement may not be elected for credit unless, in extenuating circumstances, authorized by the language department chair (or program director) and the dean of the student’s college.

Military Science

In addition to electing courses for credit each semester, a student may elect the basic course in military science of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Credit for one elective course may be granted for the satisfactory completion of the advanced course in military science; request for such credit must be made to the associate dean of the student’s college.


By definition, it is not appropriate to enroll as an auditor for courses involving studio art, dance, sign language, independent study, thesis preparation, or for any course requiring extra time and attention from the instructor. Note that courses that have been audited may not be taken subsequently for credit.

Regularly enrolled, full-time undergraduate students may carry audits in addition to their regular course load without additional charge. For any audit by all other students, the course audit fee is charged. Regularly enrolled, full-time students who wish to visit a class, without registration and without record, may do so with the permission of the instructor on a space-available basis.

Financial Obligations

To be admitted to any course, a student – whether a graduate or an undergraduate – must pay the semester's bill in full, or make satisfactory arrangements with the Office of Finance.

Several plans for payment of tuition and other charges are available. Students and parents receive information about these plans directly and make arrangements with the organization of their choice.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Students may add and drop courses, subject to space availability, during the first two weeks of the semester.

Withdrawal from Courses

Withdrawal from (Dropping) Courses

Students may withdraw from a course during the usual two-week drop/add period by filing a completed Drop/Add form with the registrar. If another course is not added, the remaining course load must be no less than the minimum required three course credits and normal progress toward the degree will be considered. Reducing the course load to three course credits requires the approval of the faculty adviser and academic dean. (Financial aid packages are not likely to be extended or redefined to cover extra summers or semesters when the student elects a less-than-average course load, thereby requiring additional periods of enrollment. Questions concerning the Financial Aid ramifications of "less-than-average course loads" should be pursued directly with the Office of Financial Aid.)

After the usual two-week drop/add period, all course withdrawals must be approved by the student's academic dean. In unusual circumstances, dropping a course may be approved through the fourth week of the semester if the student is still carrying three course credits; in two semesters, as exceptions to this four-week limit, dropping a course may be permitted through the 10th week of the semester. The grade of "W" is assigned for all such approved course withdrawals after the first two weeks of the semester.

Exceptions to these deadlines may be approved only if there are serious health difficulties or similar extenuating circumstances. Poor performance, anticipation of poor performance, extracurricular obligations, changes in educational plans or interests, or the existence of extra course credits, are not considered extenuating circumstances.

Separation from the University, Leave-of-absence, Readmission

Separation from Bucknell

There are several reasons for which a student may be separated from the University. The forms of separation recognized by the University include: Withdrawal, Voluntary Leave-of-absence, Health Leave-of-absence, and Involuntary Leave-of-absence.

Students on any type of leave or withdrawal must leave campus within 24 hours of initiating the leave. Students subject to any leave or withdrawal covered by this policy may not attend classes, participate as a member of a student organization, or be on campus for any reason without prior permission from the Dean of Students.


Students who decide, for any reason, to discontinue their educational experience at Bucknell and do not intend to return will complete the process for withdrawal. Students interested in withdrawing from Bucknell should contact the associate dean of their college to initiate the process.

Voluntary Leave-of-absence Prior to the Start of the Semester

A student in good standing who wishes to temporarily interrupt studies following the end of a semester may apply to the dean of the college for a leave-of-absence if the student intends to complete degree requirements at Bucknell University and if the courses for the semester preceding the leave have been satisfactorily completed.

The leave-of-absence will be for one semester. A student on leave will not be carried on Bucknell University rolls during the period of the leave. A student may be approved for only one leave-of-absence in any 12-month period. The 12-month period begins on the first day of the student's leave-of-absence.

Applications for a leave-of-absence normally will be submitted by August 1 for a fall semester, and by January 1 for a spring semester.

During a leave-of-absence, students wishing to take academic courses elsewhere to transfer back to Bucknell must receive prior permission of the dean of the college and in no case would more than two course credits be approved.

Students on leave-of-absence who subsequently fail to return to Bucknell University will be involuntarily withdrawn with an effective date reverting to the last date of attendance at the University. If a student decides to enroll at another institution and not return to Bucknell University, they must contact the dean of the college and initiate withdrawal from Bucknell University. In both cases, a student will be required to submit an application to the dean of admissions to return to Bucknell University.

Voluntary Leave-of-absence During the Semester

A student who, during any semester, is unable to meet the demands of his or her academic program should contact the office of the dean of the appropriate college to discuss possible options. Such a student may be well advised to consider a voluntary leave. Voluntary leave after the second week of the semester will result in the recording of WP (withdraw passing) or WF (withdraw failing) grades for each course (see Grading System). It should be noted that grades of WF will be factored into the student's GPA. A voluntary leave once classes have begun will result in the loss of some or all tuition (see Finance and Financial Aid Information/Deposits and Refund Policies). A voluntary leave must be initiated by the last day of classes for the semester; the student must fill out a form that is available online. Students should contact their academic dean's office for additional information.

A student who does not plan to continue at the University, for whatever reason, following the conclusion of a given semester, should be referred to the office of the dean of the appropriate college to complete the necessary forms for effecting a leave-of-absence.

A student on a leave-of-absence from the University may apply for readmission. A written request should be sent to the associate dean of the student's academic college before June 1 for a fall semester readmission, before November 1 for a spring semester readmission, and before March 1 for a summer session readmission. Normally, a student who requires a leave-of-absence after the first four weeks of the semester will not be considered for readmission for the next regular semester. A student who enrolls full time (more than two courses per semester) at another university following a leave-of-absence and wishes to return to Bucknell University must apply as a transfer student.

Leave-of-absence for Health Related Reasons

During the semester:

Counseling and Student Development Center

Staff of the Counseling and Student Development Center will consider supporting a student's request for a leave from the University during a semester based on psychological or mental health reasons if the student has been actively engaged in counseling either with Counseling and Student Development Center staff or with another clinician/agency. If a student has not been engaged in counseling, thereby lacking the documentation needed to support a leave, staff in the Counseling and Student Development Center will assist the student in obtaining the necessary assessment or diagnosis. This might be with Counseling and Student Development, with a clinician in the community, or with a clinician at home. A student must initiate a health leave at least two weeks before the last day of regular classes and have all supporting documentation to Counseling and Student Development before the last day of classes. A mental health or psychological health leave after the first four weeks of the semester normally requires the student's absence from the University for at least one complete regular semester before consideration will be given for readmission. This allows the student time to address the issues that necessitated the leave-of-absence.

Bucknell Student Health

Physical health concerns may also interrupt a student's ability to fulfill his or her academic obligations. A health leave for physical health reasons must be initiated through Bucknell Student Health and can occur at any time during the semester. Once the health leave is initiated, the medical reason for the leave must be addressed before the student may return. A physical health leave after the first four weeks of the semester normally requires the student’s absence from the University for at least one complete regular semester before consideration will be given for readmission.

Whether the health leave is initiated through Counseling and Student Development or Bucknell Student Health, grades of W (withdraw) will be recorded for all courses for the semester. A health leave may result in the loss of some or all tuition unless the student has purchased tuition insurance that is offered before the start of each academic year (see Finance and Financial Aid Information/Deposits and Refund Policies/Credit and Refund Policies).

Following the conclusion of a semester:

If a student needs to take time off for health reasons following the conclusion of a semester, it must be processed as a health leave and authorized by Bucknell Student Health or Counseling and Student Development.

Please Note: As a residential institution, and as stated in the university attendance policy, it is expected that students attend classes and maintain residency on campus while enrolled in courses during the semester or summer session. If a documented situation affects a student's ability to attend classes, students may be provided appropriate options but must remain in residence through the conclusion of the semester. If a student is unable to consistently attend classes, they should consult with their academic dean to discuss their options such as academic flexibility for course work, the possibility of Incomplete grades for course work to allow an extension beyond the end of the semester or summer session, possible withdrawal from an individual course, or complete withdrawal (voluntary or health related) from the semester or summer session. Once final grades are submitted, students will not be permitted to retroactively withdraw from a course or the semester regardless of the reason.

Involuntary Leave-of-absence

Bucknell University endeavors to provide a safe and orderly environment in which all students are able to pursue their academic and social development. Bucknell reserves the right to require an involuntary administrative leave of any student who suffers from a mental health disorder and, as a result of such disorder:

  • Engages, or threatens to engage in behavior that poses a danger of causing physical harm to self or others, and/or
  • Engages, or threatens to engage in behavior that would cause significant property damage, which directly and substantially impedes the lawful activities of other members of the University, and/or
  • Demonstrates an inability to satisfy personal needs (e.g., nourishment, shelter) such that there is a reasonable possibility that serious physical harm or death might occur within a short period of time, and/or
  • Commits a violation of the University's Student Conduct Code and lacks the capacity to comprehend and participate in the University's disciplinary process, and/or
  • Commits a violation of the University's Student Conduct Code and did not understand the nature or wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense.

The student will be given the opportunity to elect voluntary leave or will participate in a Behavioral Assessment.

Students and Prevention of Suicide, Serious Self-Harm and Harm to Others

The Pledge of Student Responsibility notes that it is the duty of each student to protect and promote the health and safety of himself/herself and of others in the Bucknell community. Therefore, acts that deliberately put into serious jeopardy the health and/or life of the individual or members of the Bucknell community (suicide attempts, suicide threats, destructive self-mutilation, inability to care for self, alcohol and other drug abuse, physical assaults, threats of harm to others, etc.) contradict a fundamental standard of the Bucknell community. The student who engages in such activities may be required by the Dean of Students to participate in a Behavioral Assessment, a professional assessment of the student's condition.

Behavioral Assessment

The process the Dean of Students uses to determine whether a student should be separated from the University is called a Behavioral Assessment. The Behavioral Assessment Committee is chaired by the Dean of Students and also consists of the Director of Bucknell Student Health and the Director of Counseling and Student Development. Students have the opportunity to fully and completely discuss their situation and provide all information they deem relevant to the Committee. Students may request an independent professional review in accordance with the stated Behavioral Assessment procedures. The decision of the Dean of Students at the conclusion of the Behavioral Assessment process is final.

The result of a Behavioral Assessment may include relevant restrictions while the student remains on campus: for example, the student might need to refrain from consuming substances that intensify problematic behavior; or the student may have to relocate into more supportive housing on campus. And in certain cases, the student may be required to take some time away from Bucknell in order to focus on the issues at hand.

The student referred to a Behavioral Assessment is required to sign a release of information so that his/her general circumstances may be discussed with the Dean of Students. The release does not require that the therapist and/or physician discuss all the details or background of the case, but it must allow the therapist/physician to share information on four elements: 1) that the student has been seen; 2) the general nature of the problem; 3) that a course of treatment has been set and is either on-going or completed; and 4) whether, in the professional opinion(s) of the therapist and/or physician, the student is fit or unfit to return to studies and represents (or does not represent) a continuing threat to himself/herself or others.

A student who refuses to comply with a Behavioral Assessment, and/or who refuses to sign limited releases (noted above) will have his/her case assessed on the behavioral circumstances by the Dean of Students. In dealing with suicide, serious self-harm and harm to others, the Dean of Students must consider both the welfare of the individual and the wider Bucknell community. Therefore, if dangerous behavior seriously affects other persons in a residence hall, fraternity or sorority, class, or other places on campus and its environs, that is relevant.

In situations characterized by suicide or serious self-harm, the Dean of Students or other member of the Behavioral Assessment Committee reserves the right to consult with the parents, guardians, or emergency contact of the individual in danger.

Finally, students who observe or hear another student engage in, or threaten to engage in, suicide or serious self-harm have a moral obligation to seek assistance for that troubled individual. They might confidentially contact the Counseling and Student Development Center, Bucknell Student Health, Deans of Students, or Chaplains.


To apply for readmission after a health leave-of-absence or an involuntary leave-of-absence, the student must submit a letter to the associate dean of his/her college asking to be readmitted. At the same time, the student must provide to the director of the Counseling and Student Development Center or Bucknell Student Health the following documentation from his/her treating clinician(s) or physician(s): 1) Diagnosis or clinical assessment; 2) Summary of treatment, including progress in treatment and resolution of the issues that prompted the withdrawal; 3) Current medications; 4) Evaluation of the student’s readiness to resume his/her university responsibilities; and 5) Any recommendations for follow-up treatment or support. Once these criteria are satisfied and the student is deemed ready to return, readmission procedures can be initiated. The deadline for submission of these materials is June 1 for a fall semester, November 1 for a spring semester, and March 1 for a summer session. The Director of Counseling and Student Development and the Director of Bucknell Student Health may refer students applying for readmission to a Behavioral Assessment if they feel a more comprehensive assessment of the student’s condition is required.


Suspension is a sanction that makes a student ineligible to continue enrollment and/or re-enroll at the University for a specific period of time. The Hearing Board or Administrative Hearing Officer making the decision to suspend will determine the date when the suspension shall take effect and the earliest date that the individual is eligible to re-enroll in the University and conditions, if any, that must be met before re-enrollment.

Should an individual be suspended within a semester, any refund of room, board, tuition, or fees will be made in accordance with applicable policy; no academic credit may be earned for that semester; and the student may not transfer in academic credit in a period of suspension from other institutions of higher education. Grades of WP or WF will be recorded if the suspension is after the second week of classes. However, a student on suspension may carry course work elsewhere, not for transfer credit, but simply for personal edification or growth.

Suspension also applies to a student organization and requires that the group cease operation for a period of time. The Hearing Board or Administrative Hearing Officer making the decision to suspend will determine the date when the suspension shall take effect and the earliest date that the group is eligible to begin operation at the University and conditions, if any, that must be met before returning.