Academic Advising & Support
The Deans are available to help with a variety of issues and concerns including:
- Academic Performance Problems
- Academic Eligibility Questions and Academic Standing Guidelines
- Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
- First Time Academic Reinstatements
- Advice About UASH
- Personal Concerns
- Underload Approval
- Overload Approval
- Medical Incompletes
- Medical Leave of Absence
- Undergraduate Student Sabbaticals and Withdrawals
- Requests for Recommendation
The Deans can provide tutors for you at no charge, can talk with you about your study habits and may be able to help you develop more effective ways to approach your work. They can be a source of encouragement and support to you. [top]
The Deans can answer questions about academic eligibility and talk with students about the academic standing guidelines.
Eligibility Information is available on the Registrar's Website or in the Caltech Catalog under Scholastic Requirements.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Dean Barbara Green to discuss specific support services and accessibility concerns. It is the policy and practice of Caltech to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other applicable federal, state, and local laws to ensure equal opportunity for qualified persons with disabilities. Caltech is committed to ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination in any of its programs, services, and activities. As required by law, Caltech will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Please visit disability.caltech.edu for additional information.
If you have questions regarding assistance for students with disabilities and services available, please contact Dr. Barbara Green, Associate Dean of Students at (626) 395-6351.[top]
The Deans may reinstate students who are ineligible for the first time, except in the case of freshman who have 42 or more units of E or F. Those students must be seen by UASH for reinstatement. Students who wish to petition for reinstatement should make an appointment with one of the Deans prior to the UASH meeting. [top]
Students who need to be reinstated by UASH are advised to meet with one of the Deans before petitioning the committee. A Dean can read a draft of your petition and advise you about your appearance before the committee. It is important to get your adviser's statement of support and signature on the petition.
The Deans will talk with you about personal concerns you may have and work with you in attempting to resolve any issues you may be dealing with. They are also a good source of referral to other offices on campus (e.g. the Counseling Center, the Center for Diversity, etc.) who may be of assistance to you, as well. [top]
An underload is registration for fewer than 36 units. Underloads for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors must be approved by the Dean or Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students. Seniors may take an underload by presenting for the Registrar’s approval a senior underload and a course plan for graduation the following June that the plan does not require an overload in any term. Underloads will not receive a tuition reduction, only a financial aid reduction. [top]
An overload is defined as registration for more than 48 units for an undergraduate. This limit corresponds to five 9-unit classes plus a 3-unit non-academic class (PA, PE) or four 9-unit classes plus one 12-unit class. Classroom and laboratory courses are limited to 45 units for freshmen for the first two terms and the remaining three units should be used for frontier (“pizza”) courses, PE, PA, or research. Students may take up to 51 units (inclusive) but it requires their adviser's approval for such an overload. To take more units than 51, students will need to petition the undergraduate dean, with the expectation that permission will be granted only in exceptional cases. This policy is aimed at having no effect on currently recommended courses of studies in all majors, while putting a very high bar for taking 6 full-time classes simultaneously.
A student who wishes to carry an overload in any term must obtain the approval of his or her advisor and of the Dean or Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students. Petitions for overloads will not be accepted later than the last day for adding classes in any term. [top]
The grade of I is a temporary grade and is given only in the case of sickness or other problems beyond a student's control that justifies non completion of the work at the usual time. One of the Deans must authorize the use of the I grade. If a student is ill or has another reason that might justify the use of I, the student is responsible for contacting the Deans before the faculty member turns in grades. [top]
In special circumstances where a student is not able to make academic progress due to physical or mental illness, the deans may grant a medical leave of absence. A student’s petition for such a leave must have the recommendation of the Senior Director of the Health and Counseling Services or the Medical Director of the Health Center or their designates.
The following are the steps to take to apply for a medical leave
- First contact one of the deans to discuss the situation and to pick up a petition.
- Next meet with the appropriate professional from the health or counseling services for an assessment of the situation.
- Finally, see the dean to request final approval for the leave, once the recommendation from the health or counseling center is received.
Return from medical leave is subject to the recommendation of a the Senior Director of the Health and Counseling Services or the Medical Director of the Health Center or their designates and the final approval of one of the deans.
The steps to apply for return from medical leave are:
- First, contact one of the deans to discuss your situation.
- Next, contact the appropriate professional from the health or counseling services to arrange for a review of you readiness to return. This should be done at least two to three weeks prior to the start of the term in which you wish to enroll You may be required to submit medical or other evidence in connection with an application to return. Sign a release with the professional who provided you care while on leave so he or she may communicate with our Health and Counseling Center.
- Finally, after the dean receives a recommendation from the health/counseling services, see the dean to discuss his or her decision regarding your return to Caltech.
For questions on this policy, please see one of the deans. [top]
A student on an undergraduate student sabbatical may be away from Caltech for up to one year and return as a regular student without application or petition. Undergraduate student sabbaticals are not granted the term after reinstatement and they must extend over an entire term. An undergraduate student sabbatical must be sought by petition to one of the Deans, and the petition must be accompanied by a withdrawal form. Prior to filing such a petition students should make an appointment with one of the Deans. Under special circumstances, medical leaves can be granted by the Deans with the support of the Senior Director of the Health or Counseling Services. (see above)
A withdrawal is formal separation from the Institute. The effective date of an immediate withdrawal is the date of the signature of one of the Deans. A student who withdraws or is absent for a term or longer must petition UASH for reinstatement in order to return to the Institute. A student who wishes to have no grades recorded for the term must withdraw by the last day of classes for that term. After that day, grades for the term will be recorded. The date of withdrawal will be noted on the transcript. If a student leaves without withdrawing, any grades turned in by faculty will be recorded. All other grades will be F's. [top]
The Deans are happy to provide recommendations for students. It is best to make an appointment with a Dean to discuss your request and to let the Dean get to know you. It is very helpful to provide a written resume of your experience and activities. [top]