Policies, Procedures & Forms
Using a Letter of Permission, students in good academic standing may complete courses at another university to satisfy requirements toward their McMaster degree.
Requests for Letter of Permission are initiated in the Student Center of Mosaic (see Letter of Permission Information below).
If the desired/host university is outside of Canada, students MUST complete the Application for Letter of Permission at an International University and receive permission of the Faculty, prior to submitting the request in Mosaic.
The following conditions apply to all approved Letters of Permission:
- A minimum grade of C- must be achieved to receive transfer credit.
- Grades obtained in courses taken on Letter of Permission do not count towards the McMaster Grade Point Average (GPA).
- A maximum of six units of course work completed on Letter of Permission can be used toward satisfy the requirements for a minor.
- Courses taken on a Letter of Permission do not count toward academic load for purposes of academic awards and, therefore, students must carry a full load at McMaster during the Fall and Winter Terms to be considered for Undergraduate In-course Academic Awards.
McMaster recognizes that students may periodically require relief from academic work for medical or other personal circumstances. This Policy will support the management of these requests by considering the needs and obligations of undergraduate students, instructors and administrators.
It is the prerogative of the course instructor(s) to determine the appropriate relief for missed term work in their course. Students must follow up directly with instructors within 24 hours of filing an MSAF (Self-Report) or receiving notice that their MSAF (Administrative Report) has been processed to request details regarding the nature of any relief to be granted. Please see below.
- MSAF Self-Report: where students can self-report absences that result in missed academic work.
- MSAF Administrative Report: where Faculty/Program Office staff may record approved longer-term absences for students that result in missed academic work.
1. Self-Report Requests for Relief
Self Report (MSAF) requests for relief are 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; and
- where applicable, students must provide documentation proving they have not attempted the work if they submit a request for relief.
Following the Self-Report submission:
- 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 immediately follow up with their instructor(s) after submitting the request.
- For absences that exceed three (3) calendar days, students are directed to the MSAF (Administrative Report), as described in the next section.
2. Administrative Report Requests for Relief
Administrative Report (MSAF) requests for relief are 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 Office of the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies 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 Faculty/Program Office within normal business hours. Where applicable, students must provide documentation proving they have not attempted the work if they submit a request for relief.
- Students must arrange a meeting with an academic advisor for absences that last more than two weeks or relief may not be provided.
- Supporting documentation may be required for an MSAF (Administrative Report).
- If the request is granted, the Faculty/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);
- for more than two MSAF (Administrative Report) requests within a single term.
- Students must meet with an advisor 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 immediately follow up with their instructor(s) after being notified that their request has been processed. 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) (see clause 7 above).
- In some circumstances, students may be advised to submit a Petition for Special Consideration.
- Students can apply only one request for relief (Self-Report or Administrative Report) to a single piece of work.
This Policy 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 policy Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities); or
- to apply for relief for any final examination or its equivalent (see Petitions for Special Consideration in the Undergraduate Calendar).
MSAF Information (Please read this information fully before submitting the MSAF)
Student Health Certificate (To be completed by a doctor, where appropriate)
The Faculty of Science has the responsibility to ensure that degree, program and course requirements are met in a manner that is equitable to all students. While the Faculty adheres strictly to all deadlines and academic regulations as stated in the University Calendar, it does wish to assist students with legitimate difficulties. Students who seek special consideration or who wish to request that the application of a particular University or Faculty regulation be waived because of compelling medical, personal or family reasons, may submit a Petition for Special Consideration to the Office of the Associate Dean. Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of the Petition. The authority to grant Petitions lies with the Faculty Associate Dean’s office and is discretionary. Students are responsible for submitting Petitions for Special Consideration in a prompt and timely manner.
To request a Petition for Special Consideration (Form A), you must first discuss your situation with someone from the Office of the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies. We are available Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm in the Burke Science Building Rm 136. If you are not able to come in person, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that you are inquiring about a Petition for Special Consideration (Form A)
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. Please review the information provided in the General Academic Regulations section of the Undergraduate Calendar.
Deferred Examination must be written as follows, and if not written cannot be deferred a second time:
December exams will be written during Winter Reading Week (in February)
April exams will be written in late June
Spring/Summer exams will be written during the Fall Mid-Term Recess Period
Students who defer of more than one examination may be required to reduce their course load during the term in which the Deferred Examinations are being written. The decision regarding a reduced load will be communicated by email.
If you are ineligible to continue at the University (i.e., your Academic Standing on your last grade report was May Not Continue at University), please review the information found in the documents below.
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 that is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, through respectful, accessible and fair processes.
This Policy does not apply to the following: general course or program requirements; co-op, clinical and other experiential placements; residence; athletics; dietary restrictions; access to space; use of space; ablution; and employment matters, including teaching assistantships.
For more details, please review the Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances.
RISO Fact Sheet for Students (Please read this information fully before submitting your RISO Academic Accommodation Form)
McMaster University offers a Late Withdrawal option to help students who have fallen behind in a course and are not prepared to write final exam (or equivalent). The maximum number of units students may request a Late Withdrawal for throughout their undergrad degree is 18 units.
Contact an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation and the options that are available to you.
- 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.
- 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.
A course approved for Late Withdrawal will be:
- Assigned a non-numeric grade of LWD
- Excluded from the calculation of the GPA
- Ineligible for a tuition refund
Approval of a late withdrawal is final, and requests to be re-enrolled in a withdrawn course will not be considered.