Three York Policies Very Worth Your Attention

Posted by Sam on January 26, 2017

Academic Success | Get In The Know

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Student sitting a desk with hand running through hair.
Photo courtesy of Steinar La Engeland on Unsplash,

“I cruised through all four years of University with flawless, undisturbed study!” said virtually no student ever. Things happen. We find jobs, get involved with clubs and/or sports, there are family emergencies, sometimes we need a mental break . . . . The list goes on. Under such circumstances, regardless of how good of a student you may be, your grades can undoubtedly take a hit.

Here is where some very valuable, and recently revised, York University policies­ can come into play to help get you back on track and protect your GPA. I know, I know: If you’re like me, the word “policy” conjures up a mixture of boredom and dread. But bear with me: the particular specimen I’m about to outline for you deserve your undivided attention.

Let’s take a look at three York policies: the Course Repeat Policy, Withdrawn from Course Policy and the Course Relief Policy. Below you will find a student-friendly synopsis of each policy, followed by a link directing you to the Secretariat Policies website for the full official text and a more detailed account of the policies and their use. Note that these three are all policies to assist you if run into serious challenges after you have already taken much or all of a course, and feel the need to reevaluate the entire thing. There are many other steps you can take to help yourself earlier, or if you are only struggling with a certain aspect – for example, the inability to write an exam because of sickness. I won’t go into all those regulations here, but you can get a good sense of them on the Manage My Academic Record page. Better yet, when you do run into trouble or simply have questions, know that academic advisers are there to help and guide you. Nothing really beats a face-to-face conversation when it comes to finding solutions for your particular circumstances. But now, without further ado, on to the promised three policies:

Course Repeat Policy

Person highlighting pages in a book while laying on a bed.
Photo courtesy of Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash.

What exactly is it?

The opportunity for students to repeat the same course up to three times, having only the most recent attempt and its corresponding grade count toward your credit total and GPA. While all previous attempts do appear on your transcript, they will be labeled as “No Credit Retained” (NCR).

Why would you use it?

You are not satisfied with your grade in a particular course, whether it’s related to effort or matters out of your control, and you think you can/need to do better. 

Who can use it?

All current students except those enrolled in:

  • graduate degree or diploma programs
  • the Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree program in the Faculty of Education
  • the Juris Doctor (JD) degree program at Osgoode Hall Law School
  • practicum courses offered in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program 
  • practicum courses in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program

More information at the Secretariat Policies website.

Withdrawn from Course Policy

 FALL (F) YEAR (Y) WINTER (W) Last date to add a course without permission of instructor (also see Financial Deadlines) Sept. 21 Sept. 21 Jan. 18 Last date to add a course with permission of instructor (also see Financial Deadlines) Oct. 5 Oct. 19 Feb. 1 Last date to drop a course without receiving a grade (also see Financial Deadlines) Nov. 11 Feb. 10 March 10 Course Withdrawal Period (withdraw from a course and receive a “W” on the transcript – see note below) Nov. 12 - Dec. 5 Feb. 11 - Apr. 5 March 11 - Apr. 5

What exactly is it?

It is an option for struggling students that allows you to basically pull out of a course even if you are past the “last day to drop” date, though you will not be refunded any of the course fees.

There are two variations of the Withdrawn from Course policy: student selection and petition/appeal decision. If you drop before the last day of class, then you are not necessarily required to present evidence of why you are pulling out of the course. No marks or credits are recorded, and the only thing printed on your transcript under “grade decision” is a W. This is the “student selection” variation of the policy.

If you decide to withdraw from a course after the last day of class, however, then you must appeal for permission and have concrete reasons for your choice. Right from the rule makers, your reasoning must include:

  • the hardship can reasonably be seen to have caused the student’s decision to not drop, or inability to drop the course, before the withdrawal deadline;
  • hardship includes transition difficulties experienced by students in their first University session;
  • the hardship is clearly documented;
  • the petition is filed promptly following the missed withdrawal deadline, “promptly” to be defined by the period affected by the hardship.

Why would you need it?

Something drastic (or not so drastic) happens in your life that makes it difficult or impossible to maintain your academic standing in a class.

Who can use it?

The only students ineligible for the Withdrawn from Course policy are those in:

  • Graduate programs
  • the JD program
  • Practica / internships / co-op or other experiential learning placements
  • Exchange / Co-registration courses taken at another institution

More information on the Secretariat Policies website.

Course Relief Policy

Rows and rows of books on walls.
Photo courtesy of Glen Noble on Unsplash.

 What exactly is it?

It allows students who have changed programs to exclude courses completed in their previous program, and the effect those courses had on their overall GPA, while working toward their new degree. As long as the courses you are taking in your new program are not the same courses completed in your previous program, the courses from your previous program will now be excluded from your overall GPA while pursuing your new degree.

While the previous courses and corresponding grades do remain on your transcript, the notification “RLF” will appear beside them, indicating that they are excluded from counting toward your GPA.

Why would you use it?

After switching from one major to another, you do not want the courses you completed in your previous major to have an effect on your overall GPA while working toward fulfilling the requirements of your new degree, usually because your second choice suits you better and you are doing very well and would like your GPA to reflect that.

Who can use it?

You are eligible if you are either:

  • a continuing undergraduate student who has:
    1. completed fewer than 84 earned credits AND
    2. met the eligibility requirements for a new academic program


  • an undergraduate student returning after a Required Withdrawal or Debarment who:
    1. meets the eligibility requirements for the new program AND
    2. whose request for a program change has been approved by the new academic program.

You are ineligible if you are either:

  • pursuing a second or subsequent degree OR
  • making a second or subsequent program change OR
  • in a graduate program.

More information on the Secretariat Policies website.

Still with me? I hope so, because any one of the three policies above could prove to be the silver bullet in pulling yourself out of an academic hole. While we all might like to view school as a seamless journey without hiccups, the truth of the matter is that for most of us, as I noted at the beginning of this article, things happen often when we least expect it. Studying the appropriate amount of time or putting the required amount of effort into a project sometimes just isn’t possible, for a multitude of serious reasons. In times like these, the policies above can be a lifesaver, though of course it’s best to treat them as a last resort.

If you or someone you know has taken advantage of any one of the policies listed, feel free to drop us a comment or tweet us at @YorkUstudents about your experience. 


Sam recently graduated with an Honours BA in Communications.

See other posts by Sam