Please note: information on this page has been extracted and adapted, as appropriate, from the Undergraduate Calendar, from Senate-Approved course outline statements, and from relevant University policies (these policies are linked below.) In cases of discrepancies between this page and any of these sources, the relevant sources (e.g., policies, the Undergraduate Calendar) will prevail.
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Policy on Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please read the full policy for details that extend beyond the information provided below.
Students can submit a McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) in some situations where they have missed academic work due to illness or other reasons. There are two types of MSAF requests: the MSAF (Self Report) and the MSAF (Administrative Report).
i. MSAF (Self Report)
Requests for relief for missed academic work worth less than 25% of the final grade resulting from medical or personal situations lasting up to three (3) calendar days.
Students shall use the MOSAIC MSAF tool to make MSAF (Self-Report) requests, which:
- may only be submitted once per term;
- must be submitted within 24 hours of the end of the three (3) day period, and failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief;
- applies only to work due within the period for which the request applies, i.e., the three-day period specified in the MSAF; however, all work due in that period can be covered by one request
The MOSAIC MSAF tool will send an automated email to the course instructor(s) to inform them of the request. The instructor(s) will determine the appropriate relief for the request.
Students must follow up directly with instructors within 24 hours of filing an MSAF (Self-Report) to request details regarding the nature of any relief to be granted.
ii. MSAF (Administrative Report)
Requests for relief for:
- medical or personal situations lasting more than three (3) calendar days; and/or
- missed academic work worth 25% or more of the final grade; and/or
- any request for relief in a term where the MSAF (Self-Report) tool has already been used once.
Students must contact the Arts & Science Program Office to report their absence within 24 hours after returning to their academic activities. Failure to contact and report an absence promptly will negate the opportunity for relief. Students may or may not require an appointment to process the request and will be contacted by the Program Office within normal business hours.
Students must arrange a meeting with Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop (as appropriate) for absences that last more than two weeks or relief may not be provided.
Supporting documentation may be required for an MSAF (Administrative Report). See the MSAF (Administrative Report) Request Form for further detail.
If the request is granted, the Program Office will process the relief request and notify the instructor(s) and the student.
Normally, relief for missed work will not be provided:
- where the cumulative value of missed work within a course is greater than 35% (prior to the exam period); or
- for more than two MSAF (Administrative Report) requests within a single term.
Students must meet with Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop (as appropriate) to discuss their options when the cumulative value of missed work within a course is greater than 35%, or they have exhausted their one MSAF (Self Report) and two MSAF (Administrative Reports), and further work is missed.
The instructor(s) will determine the appropriate relief for MSAF (Administrative Report) requests. Students must follow up directly with instructors within 24 hours of receiving notice that their MSAF (Administrative Report) has been processed to request details regarding the nature of any relief to be granted. Failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief.
The MSAF (Administrative Report) applies only to the work due within the period for which the request applies; however, all work due in that period can be covered by one request. The exception is any work for which relief has already been granted either through an MSAF (Self Report) or another MSAF (Administrative Report).
The MSAF (Self Report) and the MSAF (Administrative Report) cannot be used:
- for academic work that has already been completed or work that has been attempted (which includes the viewing and/or partial completion of online assessments (quizzes, tests, etc.));
- to seek an accommodation to meet religious, Indigenous or Spiritual Observances (see the Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances);
- to seek an accommodation related to a permanent or temporary disability or a retroactive accommodation (see the Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy); or
- to apply for relief for any final examination or its equivalent (see Petitions for Special Consideration in the Undergraduate Calendar).
Students can apply only one request for relief (Self-Report or Administrative Report) to a single piece of work.
MSAF (Self Report) tool available in the Mosaic Student Centre (in the drop-down menu under Other Academics)
Artsci MSAF (Administrative Report) Request Form
McMaster University Student Health Certificate
Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities Policy.
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances. Please read the full policy for details that extend beyond the information provided below.
There are two types of RISO accommodations: for Registrar-Invigilated Examinations and for Academic Obligations.
i. Registrar-Invigilated Examinations
Students shall complete and submit the RISO-Examination form, in person, to the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible after receiving their Examination schedule, and where possible, no later than ten working days prior to the commencement of the Examination period.
ii. Academic Obligations
The Student shall submit the RISO form to the Program Office, electronically or in person, normally within ten working days from the beginning of each term in which they are anticipating a need for Accommodation. There may be occasions where the date of an Observance is not yet confirmed or where an Observance is unanticipated. In such cases the Student is advised to contact the Program as soon as they become aware of the conflict to request Accommodation.
After submitting the RISO form, the Student shall receive confirmation from the Program office, normally within five working days.
After receiving confirmation of receipt of the RISO form from the Program, the Student shall contact the instructor(s) regarding the Alternative Arrangements as soon as possible and no later than five working days prior to the date on which the scheduling conflict will occur.
A Student who is registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) may self-identify on the RISO form if they would like a copy of the RISO form sent to SAS in order to assist in the co-ordination of their Alternative Arrangements.
In situations where the Observance requires the Student to leave the class temporarily, the Student shall discuss their needs with the instructor and develop a mutually-acceptable arrangement where possible.
The University wishes to assist students with legitimate difficulties. It also has the responsibility to ensure that degree, program and course requirements are met in a manner that is equitable to all students. Students may submit, in a prompt and timely manner, a Petition for Special Consideration to the Arts & Science Program Office in those instances where a student acknowledges that the rules and regulations of the University have been applied fairly, but is requesting that an exception to the regulations be made because of special circumstances. Requests related to temporary or permanent disabilities, or for retroactive accommodations related to a disability are excluded from petitions and must be processed under the Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.
Decisions made on Petitions for Special Consideration are final. In accordance with the Student Appeal Procedures, decisions made on Petitions for Special Consideration cannot be appealed to the Senate Board for Student Appeals. However, should students believe that a decision may be a violation of their human rights, they may wish to contact the Equity and Inclusion Office to identify appropriate avenues of recourse as per the Policy on Discrimination and Harassment: Prevention & Response.
There are two forms available: The Petition for Special Consideration (Form A) and the Petition for Special Consideration: Request for Deferred Examination (Form B).
i. Petition for Special Consideration (Form A)
The Petition for Special Consideration (Form A) is submitted for a variety of issues, including, when a student wishes to have a leave of absence or seeks to depart from University requirements based on compelling medical or personal reasons; or a student believes that an adverse ruling or decision about their academic performance, such as failing a course, or being required to withdraw from a program for failure to meet program requirements, should be waived because of compelling medical or personal circumstances. Requests related to temporary or permanent disabilities, or for retroactive accommodations related to a disability are excluded from petitions and must be processed under the Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.
Petitions should be submitted in a prompt and timely manner for the relevant term, but no later than July 31 immediately following the Fall/Winter Term or November 15 immediately following the Spring/Summer Term.
ii. Petition for Special Consideration: Request for Deferred Examination (Form B)
The Petition for Special Consideration: Request for Deferred Examination (Form B) is used when a student misses an examination because of compelling medical or personal reasons. Requests related to temporary or permanent disabilities, or for retroactive accommodations related to a disability are excluded from petitions and must be processed under the Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.
- 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/Program 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 Mosaic Student Center > Deferred Exam Approvals or with the Arts & Science Program 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 via Mosaic > Student Center > View My Grades.
- Deferred examinations are written during the next official University deferred examination period. 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 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 Program Office, students who have been granted one or more deferred examinations, may not be allowed to enrol in a subsequent term until all deferred examinations have been completed and the Academic Standing calculated. Students will be notified of this decision by the Program Office.
- Students who will be living more than 160 kilometres from Hamilton during the deferred examination period and wish to write their approved deferred examination at an institution other than McMaster must submit a Request to Write Deferred Examination Off-campus Form at least 15 working days prior to the deferred examination period. Students are responsible for making arrangements for a presider to conduct the deferred examination at an outside institution and for paying any fees such as invigilation and return courier.
- The authority to grant any petitions lies with the Program Office and is discretionary. It is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally-scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.
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 are encouraged to make use of this option and must contact the Program Office. Students will work with their Academic Advisor to discuss the situation and what steps they can take 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 will not preclude students from enrolling in the course(s) in a subsequent term.
McMaster students who wish to complete courses at another university for transfer credit towards their McMaster degree must be in good academic standing. Grades obtained in courses at another university will not be included in the calculation of McMaster averages, which may affect consideration for in-course academic awards. Courses taken at another university cannot be used to satisfy McMaster’s Residence Requirements. Students may take up to six units at another university toward a minor.
1) Students consult Mosaic for a list of pre-approved courses that can be taken at other institutions and transferred back for McMaster credit. If the course has not been previously reviewed and approved for equivalency credit, it can be submitted for consideration. Please contact Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop (as appropriate) for details. For all LOP requests, students must ensure they are able to apply by the deadline as a Visiting Student to the institution where you wish to take the course (Host Institution).
2) Students request their Letter of Permission (LOP) via the Mosaic Student Centre. Please notify Shelley or Rebecca (as appropriate) after you have submitted your Letter of Permission request. If the request is approved, the student will be notified via email and then it is the student’s responsibility to apply and enrol at the Host Institution.
3) It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that official transcripts are sent to the Arts & Science Program upon completion of course work.
- If a grade of 60% or better is obtained, the transcript designation reads T indicating transfer credit.
- If less than a 60% grade is attained, the transcript designation reads NC indicating no credit.
- If the student withdraws from the course, the transcript designation reads W indicating withdrawn. Students who do not to use their Letter of Permission or drop the course must supply the Arts & Science Program Office with a certified letter from the host university, otherwise a grade of NC will be placed on the transcript.
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.
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.
For more information regarding this process, please see the Letter of Permission page on the Office of Registrar website.
Letter of Permission application available in the Mosaic Student Centre (in the My Academics section)