What is UASH?
UASH is the Undergraduate Academic Standards and Honors committee. It is composed of 8 professors elected by the Caltech faculty, and 5 students (2 voting, 3 alternate) selected by the Academics and Research Committee (ARC), the Registrar, and the Undergraduate Deans. The Undergraduate Dean is also a voting member; the Executive Director of Student Wellness Services and the Undergraduate Associate Deans sit on the committee in an advisory capacity only.
As its name suggests, its task is twofold. First, it is responsible for awarding a variety of academic honors (e.g., the Green, Froehlich, Housner and Undergraduate Senior Thesis prizes).
Secondly, it is responsible for ensuring that a consistent set of standards and rules is applied in academic matters involving undergraduates. UASH does not deal with financial matters (such as requests for financial aid or assistance), nor with matters concerning students' behavior or conduct (except insofar as that conduct affects their academic performance).
UASH typically meets 3-4 times per term. The full schedule, as well as all of the forms, can be found on the registrar's website. For full consideration, completed petitions must be submitted by the relevant deadline.
It is highly recommended that students show their petition to their undergraduate dean and/or their advisor early, for review and comment, before their final submission. The Associate Deans are available for consultation as students put their materials together, and it is helpful for them as they prepare to lead the discussion on the case.
All the information that a student submits to UASH in their petition is private, and will only be shared with those who have a need to know. If a student is concerned about revealing deeply personal issues in their petition, or to particular UASH members, they should discuss methods for handling this with the deans.
The rest of this handbook outlines the kinds of petitions considered by UASH; the process for submitting them; and the committee's typical considerations when assessing them. Please consult the catalog for more detailed information.
Types of Petitions
Additional E Grade Petition
This is a request to receive an E grade when a student has already reached their limit of possible E grades over their academic career (six). Students should include instructor support and a timeline of submission of work. A petition should be submitted as soon as a student knows they are not on track to receive their grade on time.
Further Work Petition
This is a request to allow students to stay on at Caltech beyond the normal twelve terms so as to finish the courses they need for graduation. If a student needs more than one extra term to complete their requirements, they should submit a petition for all additional terms. Please note that future terms will be re-evaluated each term based upon course completion of the previous term. Updated petitions may be requested in order to continue.
UASH grants Further Work Petitions ONLY to enable students to graduate in the shortest time possible. Students will not be allowed further terms to complete a double major or minor, nor to take additional courses that do not fulfill outstanding degree requirements.
Grade Change Petition
This is a request to correct a grade that has been erroneously recorded on a student's transcript. It must be the result of faculty error or extenuating circumstances. If a student wishes to petition for a grade to be changed from an F to an E or I, they must use this form. For an I grade, a petition requires the support of a dean.
This form may also be used to petition for a change of grade scheme after the Drop Day deadline. Please note that such a petition would only be approved in a case of extenuating circumstance outside of a student's control. Grading scheme changes are only possible when the requested scheme was originally an option for all students in the course.
Late Add Petition
This is a request to make a change to a student's transcript so that it reflects the courses they actually completed.
UASH grants Late Add petitions ONLY when there has been a genuine mistake made in the recording of enrolled classes and there is instructor support. It does not grant these petitions when it appears that a student is "grade shopping" -- i.e., holding out on adding a course until they know what grade is likely to be forthcoming. In cases where the late addition of a course would have put the student in a position of overload by Add Day of the term concerned, the student must also obtain an approved retroactive overload from the dean or associate dean of undergraduate students.
Late Drop Petition
Petitions by undergraduate students for late drops (i.e., requests to drop a course after Drop Day) will be considered by the UASH Committee but will only be approved if circumstances beyond the student's control prevented them from dropping a course or courses by the posted deadline. Such petitions must be submitted before the end of the term following the term when the course was taken, or within the first term of return, if the student is on leave in the term following the term when the course was taken. If approved, a W will be recorded on the student's transcript in place of a grade for that course. W's will not be included in the computation of the student's grade-point average. Courses will be expunged from the student's record only in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the UASH Committee. Ordinarily, a petition will not be approved without input from the instructor. Students should make every effort to get relevant information from their instructor before submitting a petition.
Petitions from graduating seniors submitted later than the first UASH meeting following graduation (which normally takes place shortly after graduation) will not be accepted for consideration, except to correct an error by the Institute.
Reinstatement Petition and Appeals
Academic Eligibility and Eligibility to Petition UASH for Reinstatement
When a student is ineligible for the first time, students are to send a reinstatement petition to the dean or associate dean of undergraduate students. The dean may choose to reinstate them, in which case they will be on academic probation. Alternatively, the dean may forward the reinstatement petition to the Undergraduate Academic Standards and Honors Committee (UASH). UASH will either approve their petition for reinstatement and place them on academic probation, or require them to withdraw from the Institute for at least two terms.
When a student becomes ineligible a second time, they will be required to withdraw from the Institute for at least two terms. Summer does not count as a term. A student who has been required to leave the Institute because of academic ineligibility may, after at least two terms of leave, petition the Undergraduate Academic Standards and Honors (UASH) Committee for reinstatement. The UASH Committee's decision regarding reinstatement will be based largely on whether or not such students have made good use of their time while away from the Institute. Useful activities include being gainfully employed, having an internship, engaging in a significant amount of volunteer work, or successfully completing courses at another college or university. The Committee will also expect that students applying for reinstatement will have completed work in all Caltech classes in which they had received an E or I grade.
When a student becomes ineligible a third time, they will not be allowed to continue to enroll at Caltech.
Process for Requesting an Exception to Petitioning for Reinstatement
Students who are ineligible to petition may request an exception to the above policies. This is also for any student who received a second ineligibility and wishes to request to return prior to taking two terms off (summer does not count towards the terms).
Students can request to petition early by emailing the Registrar at least three business days prior to the next UASH Committee meeting's published deadline. When sending the reinstatement petition, students are encouraged to include (in the body of the email) an additional note including why the student feels they have an exceptional circumstance that should be considered by UASH outside of the typical reinstatement procedures.
Requests for an exception to go before UASH will be reviewed by the Registrar, Dean, and chair of UASH. If the petition receives sufficient votes from those individuals, it will be added to the agenda for the following UASH committee meeting.
Reinstatement Review Process
What was accomplished while away and supporting documentation of readiness
UASH's primary criterion in assessing a student's Reinstatement petition is whether the student is capable of successfully completing their classes in the coming term and making progress towards the degree. Students who are spending time away due to ineligibility should think critically about how they are spending that time away; either full-time employment or a full term of courses at another institution is highly recommended, as a way of demonstrating ability to succeed in an academic setting and/or readiness to return to a time-intensive environment. Ineligible students are encouraged to be in touch with their associate dean periodically while away, in order to provide updates about their progress.
Students who cite physical or mental health conditions as relevant to their ineligibility should also seek to address these issues through relevant treatment from a licensed medical professional. It is recommended that students have their provider(s) complete a Provider Report Form if they plan to include references to their medical conditions in a reinstatement petition, and that they have a plan to address any ongoing physical or mental health needs through use of on and off campus resources upon return to enrolled status.
NOTE: One of the most common reasons why students fall behind in their coursework is that they are spending their time completing E's or I's from previous terms. Therefore, UASH generally does not grant readmission to students with outstanding E's or I's. If there is some reason why a student could not complete an outstanding E or I before petitioning UASH, they should make this clear in the petition.
If a student is denied reinstatement, there is an opportunity to appeal.
How UASH informs students of its decision
The Registrar's Office will inform students by email of UASH's decision regarding their petitions no more than one day after the UASH meeting. Students will be told the reasons for a denial and (if appropriate) given advice on what they might do to improve the chance that their petition will be granted, should they decide to petition again or make an Appeal.
Grade Change, Additional E Grade, Further Work, Late Add/Drop and Underload Petitions
No appeal from UASH's decision on these petitions is allowed. However, students may always gather additional relevant evidence and resubmit their petition at a future time.
Students whose Reinstatement Petition has been denied may appeal the Committee's decision. Appeals usually will be considered on the Friday of the first week of term, but consult the UASH website for meeting dates and deadline for submission of materials.
In the case of appeals, UASH allows students to appear personally before the Committee in order to answer the Committee's questions and further argue their case for reinstatement. If a student is appealing and wishes to appear personally before the Committee, they should check the appropriate box on the UASH Appeals form and make themselves available for an interview from 9 a.m. in the lobby of the Center for Student Services. They should wait there until the Committee asks to see them.
Students will be notified of the results of their appeal in person, if they have appeared in person before the committee. The Associate Deans will meet with these students later that afternoon, in order to discuss either plans for return, or plans for what a student will do while away from Caltech.
The Committee's decision on appeals is final, though students may always submit new petitions for Reinstatement in future terms.