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Policies, Procedures & Forms

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Each year outstanding students with a minimum average of 9.5 on at least 30 units (usually their Fall/Winter Term Average) are named to the Deans’ Honour List. Students will be assessed at the reviewing period (which occurs in May for the Faculty of Science) when a minimum of 30 units (may not exceed 6 units that are pass/fail) has been completed since the previous Deans’ Honour List review. At each review, the assessment will be based on all units completed since the previous Deans’ Honour List review.

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.

Search already approved course equivalencies here.

Letter of Permission Information

 Application for Letter of Permission at an International University

McMaster recognizes that students may periodically require relief from academic work for medical or other personal circumstances. To accurately and efficiently report such absences, the on-line McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) self-reporting tool was created. The MSAF can be used, once per term, if:

  • the medical/personal circumstances lasted no more than three calendar days,
  • the missed academic work is worth less than 25% of the final grade.

In these situations, students are not expected to provide supporting documentation. Through the on-line tool (found in Mosaic), an automated email will be sent to course instructor(s) who will determine the appropriate relief. Students MUST immediately follow up with their instructor(s). Failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief.
In any/all of the following circumstances a Faculty Approved (Type B) MSAF is required:

  • for medical or personal situations lasting more than three calendar days,
  • for missed academic work worth 25% or more of the final grade,
  • when the MSAF has been used previously in that Term.

In each of these circumstances, normally students are required to provide appropriate supporting documentation. Please note, during the COVID-19 pandemic, documentation may not be required. If warranted, the Associate Dean (Academic) Office will approve the absence, instructor(s) will be notified, and he/she will determine appropriate relief. Students MUST immediately follow up with their instructor(s). Failure to do so may negate the opportunity for relief.
MSAF cannot be used for academic work that has already been completed or attempted.  Attempting online work INCLUDES opening a test/quiz on Avenue to Learn or other platform.
Important MSAF Notes:

  • An MSAF applies only to work that is due within the consecutive three day period for which relief is requested; however, all work due in that period can be covered by one MSAF.
  • The MSAF cannot be used to apply for relief for any final examination or its equivalent.
  • The MSAF cannot be used for academic work that has already been completed or attempted.
  • The MSAF should not be used for absences as a result of religious obligation or to celebrate an important religious holiday. Please see the RISO Accommodation information above.

MSAF Information (Please read this information fully before submitting the MSAF)

Student Health Certificate (To be completed by a doctor, where appropriate)

McMaster Student Absence Form 

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.

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 Instructors

RISO Fact Sheet for Students (Please read this information fully before submitting your RISO Academic Accomodation 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.

Request for Late Withdrawal Form