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Arts & Science Program


Drop and Add

Drop and Add is done online via your Mosaic Student Centre. Please contact Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop if you have any questions or concerns.

Letter of Permission

  • Students request their Letter of Permission (LOP) via the online Mosaic Student Centre.
  • Ensure that you are able to apply by the deadline as a Visiting Student to the institution where you wish to take the course (Host Institution).
  • Consult Mosaic for a list of pre-approved courses. If the course is not listed within Mosaic, it may be necessary to check with an appropriate McMaster department for an equivalency. If the course is to be used as a prerequisite for another Faculty, you must ensure that it is acceptable to that Faculty.
  • If you decide not to take the course, ensure that you cancel your Letter of Permission. If you wish to register in a different course, you must contact the Arts and Science Program Office to arrange for a revised Letter of Permission.
  • If you decide to cancel the course after you have registered for it, ensure that you follow the course cancellation procedures of the Host Institution and arrange for a transcript to be sent to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Transfer credit will be granted only for courses completed with a minimum grade equivalent to C- (60%) at McMaster University. Successfully completed courses will appear as COM (COMPLETE) on your McMaster transcript. Grades for these courses will not appear and are not included in McMaster averages. If you require the grade for an application to a graduate or professional program, you must request a transcript from the Host Institution to be assessed along with your McMaster transcript.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that official transcripts are sent to the Arts and Science Program. For students expecting to graduate at Spring convocation, transcripts must be received by May 15. For students expecting to graduate at the Fall convocation, transcripts must be received by September 30. Failure to have an official transcript sent to clear Letter of Permission work will result in a Failure by Default being assigned.
  • For more information regarding how to apply for a Letter of Permission, please see the Letter of Permission page on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is an online, self-reporting tool for students to report absences arising from medical or personal situations that last up to 3 calendar days and to request accommodation for any missed academic work that is worth less than 25% of the final grade:

  • Use the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) on-line self-reporting tool.  No further documentation is required.
  • Students may submit requests for relief using the MSAF once per term.
  • An automated email will be sent to the course instructor, who will determine the appropriate relief. Students must immediately follow up with their instructors. Failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief.
  • The MSAF cannot be used to meet a religious obligation or to celebrate an important religious holiday.
  • The MSAF cannot be used for academic work that has already been completed/attempted. Attempting online work INCLUDES opening a test/quiz on Avenue to Learn or other platform.
  • Students experiencing technical difficulties at the time of the test should contact their instructor or designate and should not submit an MSAF.
  • An MSAF applies only to work that is due within the period for which the MSAF applies, i.e. the 3-day period that is specified in the MSAF; however, all work due in that period can be covered by one MSAF.
  • The MSAF cannot be use to apply for relief for any final examination or its equivalent. See Request for Deferred Examination below.

For medical or personal situations lasting more than 3 calendar days, and/or for missed academic work worth 25% or more of the final grade, and/or for any request for relief in a term where the MSAF has been used previously in that term, students must contact Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop (as appropriate) in the Arts & Science Program Office.


Request for Deferred Examination

  • Once a student has completed an examination, no special consideration will be granted. A student who misses an examination because of compelling medical or personal reasons may submit a Petition for Special Consideration: Request for Deferred Examination (Form B) to the Faculty office, normally within five working days of the missed examination.
  • If the reason is medical, the approved McMaster University Medical Form must be used. The student must be seen by a doctor at the earliest possible date, normally on or before the date of the missed exam and the doctor must verify the duration of the illness. Relief will not be available for minor illnesses. If the reason is non-medical, appropriate documentation with verifiable origin covering the relevant dates must be submitted, normally within five working days.
  • In deciding whether or not to grant a petition, the adequacy of the supporting documentation, including the timing in relation to the due date of the missed work and the degree of the student’s incapacitation, will be taken into account.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Faculty office for a decision on the request for a deferred examination. If the deferred examination is granted, the student will be informed officially by means of the notation DEF which will appear against the relevant course on the student’s academic record and on the student’s grade report (available in Mosaic Student Centre).
  • Deferred examinations are written during the next official University deferred examination period. Examination and deferred examination dates appear in the Sessional Dates section of the Undergraduate Calendar. Default of the deferred examination will result in a fail for that examination.
  • Students who have been granted more than one deferred examination may be required by their Faculty/Program office to reduce their course load during the term in which the deferred examinations are being written. The decision on a reduced load will be made and communicated with the decision on the request for deferred examinations.
  • At the discretion of the Faculty/Program office, students who have been granted one or more deferred examinations, may not be allowed to enrol in a subsequent term or session until all deferred examination(s) have been completed and the Academic Standing calculated. Students will be notified of this decision by their Faculty/Program office.


Late Withdrawal

McMaster University provides a Late Withdrawal option to assist students who have become irretrievably behind in a course. Students who have fallen behind with assignments and/or are not prepared to write final examinations (or equivalent) in one or more courses may wish to make use of this option. To do so, you must meet with either Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop, with whom you can discuss the situation and consider steps that can be taken to prevent a recurrence.
The maximum number of units for which students may request a Late Withdrawal is 18 units throughout their undergraduate degree.
Students may request a Late Withdrawal, without petition, no later than the last day of classes in the relevant Term. However, it is important to note that:

  • Requests for Late Withdrawal cannot be made in courses for which the final exam (or equivalent)has been attempted or completed. This also includes courses where a final grade has been assigned (e.g. clinical courses).
  • Such requests will be cancelled or revoked if it is determined that the student attempted or completed the final exam (or equivalent).
  • Students cannot use the Late Withdrawal option for courses in which they are under investigation or for which they have been found guilty of academic dishonesty.

Course(s) approved for Late Withdrawal will be:

  • Assigned a non-numeric grade of LWD, in lieu of an alpha/numerical grade
  • Excluded from the calculation of the GPA
  • Ineligible for tuition refund

Approval of a late withdrawal is final, and requests to be re-enrolled in the withdrawn course(s) will not be considered. A withdrawal is will not preclude students from enrolling in the course(s) in a subsequent term.


Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous, and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

The following excerpt is from McMaster University’s Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous, and Spiritual Observances (effective September 2015):

McMaster University strives to be welcoming and inclusive of all its members and respectful of their differences. Students, staff, and instructors come from a range of backgrounds, traditions and beliefs. The University recognizes that, on occasion, the timing of a student’s religious, Indigenous, or spiritual observances and that of their academic obligations may conflict. In such cases, the University will provide reasonable academic accommodation for students that is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, through respectful, accessible, and fair processes.

RISO Policy (PDF)
RISO Fact Sheet for Students (PDF)
RISO Fact Sheet for Instructors (PDF)

Academic Obligations Excluding Registrar-Invigilated Examinations

  • Students are to submit the RISO form, electronically or in person, to Shelley Anderson (A-L) or Rebecca Bishop (M-Z) in the Arts & Science Program Office within 10 working days from the start of each term in which the accommodations is necessary.
  • For observances for which the specific dates/details are not known in advance, please contact Shelley or Rebecca (as appropriate) to notify of the potential conflict.
  • Once the RISO form has been reviewed and approved, the relevant instructors will be notified by email of the days and/or times during which the conflict(s) is anticipated, with a copy to the student.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up with their instructor(s) to make accommodation arrangements as soon as possible and no later than five working days prior to the date on which the scheduling conflict will occur.


Registrar-Invigiliated Examinations

  • Students are to complete and submit a RISO-Examination form, in person, at the Scheduling & Examinations Office (Gilmour Hall 114) as soon as possible after receiving their exam schedule, and where possible, no later than 10 working days prior to the commencement of the examination period.
  • If the student fails to meet this deadline, it may not be possible to reschedule the examination within the current exam period. In such cases, students must visit their Faculty or Program office to request alternative arrangements.
  • The Registrar’s Office will normally inform students of their rescheduled examination(s) at least five working days prior to the beginning of the examination period.


Reference Request

If you are requesting a reference from the Director of the Arts & Science Program for a graduate school application, scholarship application, etc., you must first meet with Dr. Wilson in person and then complete and submit a reference request form. Click on the link below to download and print this form, and submit it to Dr. Wilson via Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop.