Petitions & Forms

Here are links to commonly requested online petitions and forms in the College of Natural Sciences.

On this page:

If you are not sure which form is the appropriate one for your request, please read the descriptions below to help you choose the correct one.

Remember, most petitions are requesting special consideration.  You must demonstrate that your circumstances are worthy of special consideration.

Our goal is to respond to complete petitions (including documentation where relevant) within 5 business days, however at certain times of the year, it could take longer. Your patience is appreciated.

Credit Overload Petition

Use the Credit Overload Petition form to request an increase in your credit limit. In the fall and spring semesters, if you are full time and want to take more than 19 credits, you must request a credit overload. The following are general guidelines used in determining if a credit overload is warranted: 3.0 GPA for 20 credits; 3.3 GPA for 21 credits; 3.5 GPA for 22 credits; 3.7 GPA for 23-25 credits. No overloads over 25 credits will be allowed. No overloads will be approved if students have any Incomplete grades. No overloads will be approved for first-semester students (both freshmen and transfer).

Students must understand that these are guidelines and are only one item factored into a decision - a 3.3 GPA doesn't necessarily guarantee approval of 21 credits. If approved for a credit overload, students are not allowed to register for the extra courses via SPIRE until mid summer for fall semester and mid December for spring semester.

Credit overloads will not be approved for the current semester for work done previously (fall, winter, spring, summer). For example, if a student does an internship/independent study during the summer, credits must be arranged through Continuing and Professional Education. It is not possible for work done in the summer to be reflected as credits earned in the fall.

Credit Overload Petition – Summer/Winter

Use the Summer/Winter Credit Overload Petition As a general rule, credit overloads will not even be considered for students whose GPA is below 3.0 or if there is an incomplete (INC) grade from a previous semester.

For summer session, the maximum credit load is 16 credits total, and not to exceed 8 credits in any session. Additional credits require overload approval from your academic dean and will only be granted for extenuating circumstances.

Students taking online courses need to be aware that excellent time management and study skills are required.

In winter session, over 4 credits constitutes an overload. Note: Winter session is extremely intensive--you should expect to have to put in at least 40 hours of course work per week, per course!

It is VERY unusual for CNS to allow a credit overload for winter session - a student would have to have VERY extenuating circumstances to appeal.

Credit overloads will not be approved for the current semester for work done previously (fall, winter, spring, summer). For example, if a student does an internship/independent study during the summer, credits must be arranged through Continuing and Professional Education. It is not possible for work done in the summer to be reflected as credits earned in the fall.

Late Withdrawal Petition

The Late Withdrawal Petition form is used ONLY after the mid-semester date.

CNS Guidelines on Class Withdrawals:

  • Students should always be aware of the Add/Drop period in each semester. Course withdrawals without record should be submitted on SPIRE before the end of the Add/Drop period.
  • Students are responsible for monitoring their progress in courses and should withdraw by the mid-semester date if necessary. If you are unsure about whether to withdraw, consult CNS advising or your major advisor.
  • Following add/drop and until the mid semester date, you can withdraw from any course with a "W" by using the University's Course Change Request form. A "W" will appear on your transcript. The Course Change Request form should be signed by your instructor to let them know you are withdrawing from the course. Then take the signed form to the Registrar's office in 209 Whitmore, or to the CNS Advising Office.
  • After the mid-semester date, students must submit a Late Withdrawal Petition in order to appeal to withdraw from a course. There must be extenuating and compelling circumstances to justify your request, e.g. illness, family emergency, etc. Students must provide verification of circumstances. Poor performance in a course is NOT a sufficient reason to request a late withdrawal.
  • We will request information from your professor about whether you were passing the course at the mid-semester date. Under most circumstances, you should withdraw from a course that you are failing at mid-semester before the mid-semester date.
  • If a circumstance is sufficiently serious to significantly impact academic performance, then the student should be taking action to remedy the situation during the semester.
  • Occasionally circumstances arise after the mid-semester date that would warrant a late withdrawal. Late withdrawal requires a petition (see below) and documentation of compelling extenuating circumstances such as personal illness, a death in the immediate family, or other equally serious issues.
  • Late withdrawal petitions and documentation should be submitted to CNS before the end of the semester. Approvals for late withdrawals after the class is complete and graded will be extremely rare and a rationale for the request after the course has ended will be required.
  • If a serious circumstance initially arises at the very end of the semester, then seeking an INC grade(s) may be appropriate. Consult your professor, major advisor, and CNS advising about this option. Be aware that INC grades count as F’s in the GPA until resolved. Therefore, INC grades should be completed as soon as feasible and no later than the end of the following semester.
  • Generally, withdrawals from all but one or two courses in a semester will not be granted. Petitions for late withdrawals from multiple courses within a semester will be considered with great scrutiny. If circumstances are affecting academic work to this degree, students should be considering a withdrawal from the university (all classes) for that semester. Medical withdrawals are handled by University Health Services.
  • The CNS Dean's Advisory Board will review all requests for late withdrawals and will notify the student of the final decision. The committee meets once a week during Fall and Spring semesters, and on an as-needed basis in the Summer, to review requests. Students must continue to attend class and complete all coursework until notified if a late withdrawal was approved. Filing a late withdrawal petition does NOT mean you are withdrawn from a class. We make every effort to respond within 5 business days (with a complete petition including documentation), however at certain times of the year, it could take longer.

Late Pass/Fail Petition

** The deadline for an elective Pass/Fail is the Mid-semester date, as set by University Regulations. This deadline is STRICT and exceptions are EXTREMELY RARE.

The following DO NOT constitute grounds for a late elective pass/fail:

  • Concern over academic performance in the class, effect on GPA, and prospects for acceptance to other institutions such as medical school, graduate school, etc.
  • The course is not being taken to fulfill any specific requirement(s)
  • Medical or family emergency (a late withdrawal may be possible)
  • Instructor support for the request
  • Change of major
  • Lack of awareness of the deadline
  • No previous history of utilizing the elective pass/fail option

The following MAY constitute grounds for a late pass/fail. Verification is required:

  • Registration error – such as mis-keying of class schedule (verifiable by Dean through student enrollment history)
  • Rejection of attempt by SPIRE due to presence of mandatory pass/fail course on student schedule (verifiable by Dean through student enrollment history)
  • Departmental or instructor error if course was added to student schedule by department or instructor (department or instructor verification required)
  • Mis-advising (verification required)

If after reading the above, you feel your circumstances meet one of the above criteria that MAY constitute grounds for a late pass/fail request, you may submit a Late Pass/Fail Petition.

The CNS Dean's Advisory Board will review all requests and will notify the student by email of the final decision. The Ad Board meets once a week during Fall and Spring semesters, and on an as-needed basis in the Summer, to review requests. We make every effort to respond within 5 business days (when petitions are complete – including documentation when relevant), however at certain times of the year, it could take longer.

Course Repeat Petition – Three-Peat

The Course Repeat Petition – Three-Peat form is used ONLY to request permission to take a course for the THIRD time.

  • A course for which a grade of C-,D+, D or F was earned may be repeated one time without permission. (No course for which a grade of C or higher was earned may be repeated.)
  • A course may be repeated a second time, for a total of three times, only with prior permission of the undergraduate dean of the school or college in which the student is enrolled. There must be extenuating circumstances to justify your request, e.g. illness, family emergency, etc. Students must provide documentation of circumstances.
  • All enrollments and all grades will appear on the transcript, but the last grade will be calculated in the GPA (even if lower than previous grades). Repeating a UMass Amherst course at another of the Five Colleges, at another campus of the University of Massachusetts, or at any other institution will not result in grade substitution.
  • Students seeking permission to take a course for the third time must submit a Course Repeat Petition and adhere to petition deadlines.
  • Poor performance in two previous takings of a course will generally NOT be sufficient justification for a third attempt.
  • Students should be aware that, if circumstances are seriously affecting academic performance, almost certainly they should withdraw from the class rather than expecting an opportunity to retake the course. (See Course Withdrawals Guidelines.)
  • Three-peat petitions are rarely approved for 100-level, foundation courses. If students have difficulty with these courses, then it is wise to consult with an advisor about a potential change of major when upper division courses will be even more difficult and built upon a shaky foundation.
  • The Dean’s Advisory Board will consult with your advisor about your prospects of repeating the course successfully, therefore, you should also discuss a three-peat petition with your major advisor prior to submission. Get a realistic sense of whether your prospects are good for successfully completing the major or whether these difficulties are an indicator that a change of major would be beneficial.
  • Petitions for three-peats should be submitted as early as possible when the need for a three-peat arises. Please adhere to the posted deadlines as late petitions will not be accepted. (The Dean’s Advisory Board will NOT approve a three-peat request after the semester has begun.)
  • Be aware that requested courses may be full. Therefore, it behooves you to make your request as early as possible.
  • Under no circumstances may a student take a course more than three times.

The CNS Dean's Advisory Board will review all requests for course repetitions and will notify the student by email of the final decision. The Ad Board meets once a week during Fall and Spring semesters, and on an as-needed basis in the Summer, to review requests. We make every effort to respond within 5 business days (when petitions are complete – including documentation when relevant), however at certain times of the year, it could take longer. Filing a course repeat petition does NOT necessarily mean you will be allowed to repeat the class.

NOTE: Repeating a course can have negative consequences. For example, if a passing grade of C-, D+ or D was received in the first enrollment, but a failing grade is received when the course is repeated, no credit would be earned for either attempt. Repeating a previously passed course may also have an effect on financial aid eligibility. Students considering repeating previously passed courses should consult their academic advisors and Financial Aid staff.

Petitions for the following semester may be submitted once Course Registration is open for that semester (e.g., in November for Spring semester) and should be submitted as early as possible to allow timely registration if the petition is approved. Petitions must be submitted by the following DEADLINES in order to be reviewed in a timely manner. To petition for a three-peat in a particular semester, the following deadlines MUST be adhered to:

To petition for a three-peat in a particular semester, the following deadlines MUST be adhered to:

  • for Summer Session One: May 1
  • for Summer Session Two: July 1
  • for Fall semester: August 1
  • for Spring semester: January 1

Academic Plan Form

Print out the Academic Plan Form so you can have it with you when you meet with your academic advisor in your major. This form is necessary if you have received a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal (SAPA) from Financial Aid. When meeting with a Dean regarding SAPA be sure you have completed the form. You must also include a letter with your name, Spire ID#, UMASS email address, and an explanation of the extenuating circumstances that led to the current academic standing and the plan for moving forward.

OR

If you have been notified by the Registrar's Office that you need an additional semester(s) in order to meet graduation requirements. (i.e., you have a 10 or 12 semester hold).

OR

If you are returning from suspension or dismissal and need to work out a plan for the upcoming semester.

Bring the completed Academic Plan Form when you meet with a Dean for SAPA, 10/12-semester hold, or return from suspension/dismissal.

Academic Discipline Self-Assessment Form

Students on probation, or returning from suspension or dismissal must print and complete Sections 1-3 of the Academic Discipline Self-Assessment Form. Bring your completed form to your meeting with a CNS dean. The dean will not meet with you unless you have your completed form.

Incomplete Grade Form

Students who are unable to complete course requirements within the allotted time because of severe medical or personal problems may request a grade of Incomplete from the instructor of the course and must complete an Incomplete Grade Form. Normally, incomplete grades are warranted only if a student is passing the course at the time of the request and if the course requirements can be completed by the end of the following semester. Instructors who turn in a grade of "INC" are required to leave a written record of the following information with the departmental office of the academic department under which the course is offered: (1) the percentage of work completed, (2) the grade earned by the student on the completed work, (3) a description of the work that remains to be completed, (4) a description of the method by which the student is to complete the unfinished work, and (5) the date by which the work is to be completed. In the case of an independent study where the entire grade is determined by one paper or project, the instructor should leave with the department information pertaining to the paper or project, which will complete the course. To avoid subsequent misunderstanding it is recommended that the student also be provided with a copy of this information.
 
Grades of Incomplete will be counted as Fs until resolved. If not resolved by the end of the following semester, they will automatically be converted to an IF.  Students are not permitted to re-register for a course in order to clear an Incomplete.