Wisconsin School of Business students as well as pre-business students are responsible for being familiar with the policies that affect them. Wisconsin School of Business policy is subject to change, so be sure to review this website for the most up-to-date information. Questions related to policy interpretation can be directed to your academic advisor for clarification. Please note that pre-business students are subject to the academic policies and procedures of their current school/college. In addition to the academic-related policies below, we strongly encourage prospective/pre-business applicants to review all admission policies listed on the Wisconsin BBA Admission Policies page.




Major Declaration

Courses at Other Institutions




The university pass/fail policy can be found here.

Undergraduate business students who are in good academic standing (i.e. not on probation) may take only one (1) course as pass/fail per semester including the summer session. A maximum of sixteen (16) total credits may be completed as pass/fail to count toward completion of the 120 degree credits required for the BBA.

The pass/fail privilege is for a non-business elective course. The following courses cannot be taken pass/fail:

  • All business courses including those designated as “meets with,” “cross-listed,” and those taken during study abroad programs
  • Any requirement for the business major or degree, including, but not limited to, pre-business and liberal studies requirements

Note: It is the responsibility of the student to check requirements and policies for non-business majors and certificates prior to requesting the pass/fail privilege.

The pass/fail grade will not be included when computing your GPA, but the pass/fail credits with S (Satisfactory) grades will apply toward graduation. S is the grade for A to C; U (Unsatisfactory) is the grade for D and F.

Students must complete a minimum of 12 graded credits each semester in order to be eligible for the dean’s list.

In order to apply for the pass/fail privilege, students must submit an online request by following the directions below:

  • Sign in to your My UW page, and click on the Student Center link
  • Click on Course Enrollment on the left hand side under Academics
  • Select the upper right hand tab entitled “term information”
  • Click on Course Change Request
  • After you select the term, you will see a list of your current courses
  • Check the box to the left of the course that fulfills the non-business elective course requirements as seen above. A list of options will appear.
  • Select the “Add Pass/Fail” box
  • Please disregard the message that says “print and obtain necessary signatures to complete this process.” You do not need to do this.
  • Scroll down and click Save
  • Your request is then sent directly to the BBA Advising Center. You will be notified by email whether or not your request has been approved.

Please complete the online pass/fail form by the deadline. See the Registrar’s website for deadline information.

Once the student has submitted the form, the course may not be changed from pass/fail back to a conventionally graded course. Once a pass/fail grade is recorded as S or U, it cannot be changed to a letter grade.

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No-Credit Courses:

The Wisconsin School of Business does not award credit for a small number of courses offered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students who take these courses and are subsequently admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business will have the credit removed upon admission. This list is specific to students admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business and is in addition to all applicable university credit policy.

The list of no-credit courses is as follows:

  • Failed courses (grade of “F”)
  • Repeated courses (except where a repeat is allowed)
  • Courses for which a student may not receive credit because of a previously completed course (as indicated in the Timetable)
  • Accounting 300: Accounting Principles
  • Accounting/Ind Engr 313: Engineering Economic Analysis
  • Consumer Science 275: Consumer Finance
  • Consumer Science 665: Household Risk Management

Being enrolled in any of the above courses could impact your application to the Wisconsin School of Business. Before enrolling in and taking any of the above courses, please consult your academic advisor.

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Repeating a Course:

Per university policy, students may repeat (retake) courses to improve their letter grade. There are several reasons, however, why repeating courses is rarely advised unless a grade of “F” is earned.

  • Students may not receive degree credit more than once for most courses.
  • Previous grades are not erased—both grades are included in the cumulative grade point average. The original grade will remain on the transcript (along with the second grade earned).
  • Credits carried on courses being repeated count toward the maximum credits permitted in a semester.
  • There is no guarantee that a student’s grade will improve by repeating a course.
  • Progress toward graduation is not made when courses are repeated.

Part-Time Enrollment:

To maintain full-time standing, students must be enrolled in 12-18 credits.

Undergraduate students who are considering dropping below full time (less than 12 credits) should make sure they know how it will affect their status. Students are responsible for knowing how part-time status will affect them. Below are some of the more common scenarios to explore before dropping credits:

International Students: Dropping below full time as an international student can have serious consequences, up to and including deportation. Please be sure to check with the International Student Services Office before dropping below 12 credits.

Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards: Depending on the conditions of the scholarship, a student may be required to be full time in order to remain eligible for an award. Make sure you check the stipulations for any awards you have received.

Financial Aid: Be sure to check with the Office of Student Financial Aid to find out if being part time will affect your financial aid package.

Tuition Refunds: Depending on when the credits are dropped, you may be eligible for a tuition refund. Check the Registrar’s Office for information about refund deadlines.

Athletes: Varsity athletes are governed by Big Ten and NCAA rules that do not allow them to drop below full time. Be sure to check with your coach and athletic advisor before dropping below 12 credits.

Degree Completion: Taking fewer credits or courses than anticipated may delay your graduation. Be certain that if you drop a course, you will still be able to complete all required courses within your desired timeline. If you are not sure, please see your academic advisor.

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A student who finds it necessary to withdraw during a semester or summer session must drop all their courses and complete the online withdrawal request in the Student Center. Failure to do so may result in a recording of Failure for all courses and a "may not continue" action. Any student may withdraw with permission and without grades being recorded at any time up to the last three weeks of a semester or up to the last two weeks of a summer session.

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The department chairs have approved this midterm policy.

The Wisconsin School of Business discourages giving exams outside of regularly scheduled class periods. Exams given outside class—for example, in the evenings—inevitably create conflicts for students who are taking other classes at that time. This problem with conflicts is getting more common as departments are using all available times—especially late in the afternoon and evenings—for scheduling classes.

Exams must be scheduled for either 5:30-7:00 p.m. or 7:15-9:15 p.m. This allows students with classes that end at 5:15 to make the exam. Any exam longer than 90 minutes should be given in the 7:15-9:15 p.m. time period to conform to university policy. This policy is consistent with the out-of-class exam policy passed by the faculty Senate on May 10, 1982.

Any student that has another class that meets at the time the out-of-class exam is scheduled must be given the opportunity to take a make-up at a time convenient for the student.

Instructors of daytime courses who plan to give evening mid-term exams must footnote such intentions in the Schedule of Classes so students will be aware of potential conflicts with evening courses or other commitments. If the possibility of evening exams is not mentioned in the Schedule of Classes, it is usually not a good idea to try to schedule one unless every student agrees. If any conflicts arise, instructors who schedule evening exams should accommodate students with unavoidable conflicts. Whenever possible, times and/or days of evening exams should also be footnoted.

Student Conflicts: Students should attempt to avoid having more than two exams within 24 hours. If a student has more than two exams in 24 hours, the instructor may—but is not required to—offer a make-up exam or allowable alternative. However, if a student has two exams at the same time and date, one instructor must offer a make-up exam or allowable alternative.


General Info/Schedule: Final exam times are automatically assigned for both fall and spring semesters. Final exam times are noted in the Schedule of Classes.

Make-Up Final Exams: Make-up exams may not consist of more than 10% of the total number of students enrolled. If an instructor needs to give a make-up to more than 10% of students enrolled, they must obtain the dean’s written approval.

Student Conflicts: Students should attempt to avoid having more than two exams within 24 hours. If a student has more than two exams in 24 hours, the instructor may—but is not required to—offer a make-up final exam or allowable alternative. However, if a student has two exams at the same time and date, one instructor must offer a make-up final exam or allowable alternative.

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Academic Probation:

Students admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business must maintain all of the following GPA minimums:

  • 2.00 cumulative GPA on all UW-Madison coursework
  • 2.00 semester GPA for each semester
  • 2.00 GPA on business/economics coursework
  • 2.00 GPA on all coursework taken since admission to the Wisconsin School of Business

Failure to meet any of these standards will result in probationary status.

A student will be cleared of probationary status at the end of the semester or summer session when all of the above conditions are met and the student’s record contains no grade of incomplete.

Students continuing on probation for a second, consecutive semester will be placed on strict probation. Students who are not removed from strict probation after one semester will be dropped from enrollment in the Wisconsin School of Business (and UW-Madison) for one semester. Students whose GPA places them in dropped status may reapply on probationary status (after a one-semester hiatus) if they can demonstrate the ability and desire to devote sufficient energy to scholastic work. To reapply, students may complete a reentry application through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

GPA deficiencies causing probationary status cannot be removed through coursework at another university or through correspondence study.

Grade Appeal

If a student is dissatisfied with a grade received in a Wisconsin School of Business course, the following procedure must be followed should the student wish to appeal the grade.

  1. The student will first discuss the grade appeal with the instructor of the course.
  2. If the student and instructor cannot come to an agreement, the student will provide a formal written request for grade appeal to the associate dean in charge of the relevant program. The written request must include the class, instructor, grade received, date and conclusion of meeting with instructor, and the specific reason(s) for appealing the grade.
  3. The associate dean will forward the appeal request to the chair of the department which houses the course in question. The department chair will perform the due diligence necessary (including, but limited to, meeting with the instructor and student) to assess the merits of the appeal request and will provide a decision in writing to the associate dean.
  4. The associate dean will communicate the decision to both the student and instructor.
  5. Should the student wish to appeal the decision further, the associate dean will perform the due diligence necessary (including, but limited to, meeting with the chair, instructor, and student) to assess the merits of the appeal request. The associate dean has the discretion to review not only the process that was undertaken in the first review, but also the earlier decision. The associate dean will provide a decision in writing to the chair, instructor, and student.
  6. The instructor will take action if needed.

Dean’s List

Business students who achieve a grade point average of 3.75 for any semester in which they complete 12 graded degree credits will have their names on the dean’s list. A permanent record of this achievement is entered on the student’s transcript. Students with I, P, or U on their grade report will automatically be ineligible for the dean’s list. Subsequent academic action may change eligibility.

Graduating with Distinction

The Office of the Registrar compiles a preliminary list of business students eligible for distinction. These students are eligible to wear an honors stole with their commencement attire. The BBA Advising Center will notify eligible students via email 2-3 weeks before the commencement ceremony.

Distinction is awarded to graduated business students who meet the following criteria:

  • At least sixty (60) credits earned (in residence) at UW-Madison
  • A cumulative UW-Madison GPA in the top twenty percent (20%) of the graduating business class

Please note that students on the preliminary list for distinction may or may not receive distinction. The distinction designation is subject to change and is dependent upon official graduation date (semester), number of students graduating, and final grade calculations, including last semester and in-progress courses.

Students who graduate with distinction are eligible to wear a cardinal stole with their commencement attire. The stoles can be obtained from the University Bookstore with a deposit and do not need to be ordered in advance. More information on graduation attire can be found on the site of the Secretary of the Faculty.

“Graduated with Distinction” is notated on official transcripts only.

Grading Policy

Effective Fall Semester 2009:

Core Classes: The mean grade should be no higher than 3.0 in the following undergraduate classes:

  • Accounting 100
  • GenBus 301, GenBus 303, Accounting 211, Finance 300, Marketing 300, MHR 300, OIM 300, RMI 300
  • Exempt from this requirement is GenBus 300

Non-Core Classes: For all other undergraduate courses with class numbers below 600 and 15 or more students enrolled, the mean grade should be no higher than 3.3 and the maximum percentage of As is 30%.

Incomplete Policy

An incomplete may be reported for a student who has carried a subject with a passing grade until near the end of the semester and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantiated cause beyond his/her control, has been unable to take or complete the final examination or to complete some limited amount of term work. An incomplete is not given to a student who stays away from a final examination unless the student proves to the instructor that he or she was prevented from attending as indicated above. In the absence of such proof, the grade shall be F; even with such proof, if his/her work has convinced the instructor that he/she cannot pass, the grade shall be F.

If an admitted business student earns an incomplete, the work for that course must be completed by the end of the student's next semester in residence (exclusive of summer sessions). Incompletes incurred in the last semester of residence may not be removed after five years of absence from the university without special advance permission of the associate dean. Such incompletes must remain on the record with grades of PI and do not lapse into failures.

See the Registrar's Office website for the full incomplete policy, including the policy for students in other schools/colleges. 

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Major Declaration

Wisconsin School of Business Major

All students admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business are required to declare a major before or upon the completion of 86 credits (including credits from transfer, AP, test, study abroad, or retroactive credits).  Business students may declare or cancel any of the 10 majors offered by completing the major declaration form.

Students interested in declaring a certificate or specialization offered through the Wisconsin School of Business should follow the procedures outlined on the Certificates and Specializations page for the appropriate program.

Please note that first-year students will not receive an enrollment hold in their first two semesters on the UW-Madison campus.  In addition, first-semester transfer students will also not receive an enrollment hold. 

Letters and Science Major

Business students may declare one additional major in the College of Letters & Science. Additional majors in a school/college other than the Wisconsin School of Business or College of Letters & Science may not be declared. Business students who gain approval to complete an additional major in L&S must complete major requirements prior to or concurrently with their business major/degree. Students who have fulfilled the major and degree requirements for the BBA will be graduated, even if L&S major requirements have not been completed.

To declare a second L&S major:
Meet with the major advisor in the College of Letters and Science and complete the major declaration form. The form must have L&S academic advisor’s signature, and it must be filled out completely. Deliver the completed form to the BBA Advising Center (3150 Grainger Hall). Incomplete or inaccurate forms will not be processed. You will be notified via email if the form is incomplete or if your request has been approved.

Meet regularly with your Wisconsin School of Business academic advisor and College of Letters and Science major advisor regarding major and/or degree requirements.

To cancel a second L&S major:
Download and complete the L&S Major Cancellation Form. The form must be signed and dated by both the student and a representative of the major department. The form must include the name, phone, and email address of the departmental faculty or staff advisor associated with the major. Turn the original form in to the BBA Advising Center (3150 Grainger Hall).

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Courses at Other Institutions

Common Guidance for Off-Campus Coursework

Wisconsin BBA students are advised to take no more than two courses in their major (or per major if pursuing multiple majors) off-campus. This guidance includes courses taken for transfer credit at another accredited institution as well as courses taken on a Wisconsin School of Business or UW-Madison-sponsored study abroad program. Due to the international emphasis of the major, there is no limit on the number of courses taken towards the International Business major while on a Wisconsin School of Business or UW-Madison-sponsored study abroad program. The academic departments of the Wisconsin School of Business strongly recommend that all BBA students complete the core or initial course in their major(s) on campus.

While BBA students are able to take courses off-campus, the BBA Program reminds students that they should plan to complete all prerequisites for any off-campus course, regardless of its place in the BBA curriculum, prior to taking the course off-campus. Attention to these prerequisites is crucial to ensuring BBA students are prepared for their coursework whether it is taken on or off campus. Advance academic planning is an integral part of a student’s success and ability to remain on track to graduate.

Transfer Credits

UW-Madison students may choose to take courses off campus during the summer and potentially transfer credit to UW-Madison. The UW-Madison Office of Admissions handles all transfer course equivalencies. Please note that UW-Madison students may not take courses at another institution during the fall or spring semester if they are concurrently taking courses at UW-Madison (see concurrent enrollment policy). Students may take no more than one course off-campus during winter recess provided the winter term does not conflict with the UW-Madison fall or spring terms. Students interested in earning transfer credit for a non-UW study abroad program must work with UW-Madison's International Academic Programs well in advance.

It is highly recommended that students do not take a course unless they know in advance that it will transfer to UW-Madison for credit.

Transferring courses from a Wisconsin public or technical college?
Use the Transfer Information System to determine course equivalencies.

Transferring courses from select technical colleges in Minnesota and Illinois?
Use the Transfer Equivalency Database to determine course equivalencies from common feeder technical colleges in neighboring states.

Transferring courses from any other institution?
The UW-Madison Office of Admissions offers a Summer Course Equivalency Service to students who wish to submit courses for transfer equivalency prior to taking a course off campus.

Transfer Credit Process

  • Review your DARS report and consult your academic advisor to see what you still need to take and whether the course(s) would be a good option to take at another institution over the summer. It is not advised to take your business major courses off campus.
  • Research course options at the institution where you plan on taking the course(s).
  • Determine equivalency (use resources listed above).
  • Apply as a “special” or “guest” student at the institution you plan on attending.
  • Enroll in the course and pay tuition directly to the institution you are attending.
  • After the course is complete, have the institution send an official transcript to the UW-Madison Office of Admissions (702 West Johnson Street, Suite 1101, Madison, WI 53715-1007).

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Concurrent Enrollment

Wisconsin School of Business students are not allowed to enroll concurrently at other accredited post-secondary institutions during any term in which they are enrolled at UW-Madison (fall, spring). This includes enrollment in online, distance education, and physical attendance classes (exceptions may be made for UW-Extension/Independent Learning—see below). Please be aware that if you are taking a course at another university that begins in the summer and continues through the fall and/or spring semester, it will fall into this category of concurrent enrollment, regardless of when the course will be completed.

Students are permitted to enroll in more than one university during summer sessions only.

If it is discovered that a student violated the above policy, this credit will be removed from the student’s record. It is the responsibility of the student to verify with their academic advisor that they are not in violation of this policy.

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Independent Learning

UW Independent Learning (UW IL) is a branch of UW Extension that offers online and print-based courses.  Courses taken through the UW Independent Learning are considered concurrent enrollment and require special permission to enroll in the fall, spring or summer.  


Students interested in taking a course through UW IL should meet with an academic advisor.  If the advisor and student agree this is a good option the student should follow these steps to request permission for concurrent enrollment and request a tuition waiver (if applicable).  Forms should be returned to 3150 Grainger. 


  • Fill out a Petition/Special Consideration Request requesting permission for concurrent enrollment with UW Independent Learning.  Be sure to include which class you intend to take. 
  • Students with full time status at UW-Madison may request a tuition waiver for UW Extension Independent Learning Courses provided that the following conditions are met:
    • The student requests the waiver and enrolls in the course by the UW-Madison add deadline (second Friday of the semester).
    • The course is taken during the regular academic session.
    • The course is completed during the term for which the tuition waiver is requested.
    • The student does not exceed 18 credits total between the two campuses.

Students are responsible for the $75.00 administrative fee for enrolling in a UW IL course.


The minimum length of time to complete an IL course is typically three months.  Foreign language courses often require more time.  Students should take this into consideration as they are planning the completion of their degree.

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The Wisconsin School of Business will graduate a student at the end of the semester (spring, summer, or fall) in which all BBA degree and business major requirements are complete. Graduation will not be postponed for any incomplete Wisconsin School of Business certificate(s), specialization(s), or honors program(s); or additional certificate(s) or major(s) outside the Wisconsin School of Business. Students must plan to finish all additional academic programs concurrently with their BBA degree.

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