Academic Regulations

Graduate School Catalog

It is the responsibility of the graduate student to become informed and to observe all regulations and procedures required by the program the student is pursuing. Ignorance of a rule does not constitute a basis for waiving that rule. The current Graduate Catalog gives the academic requirements the student must meet to graduate. However, with department or program consent, a student can change to the requirements in a later catalog published while the student is enrolled in graduate school. Changes to administrative policies and procedures become effective for all students as soon as the campus community is notified of the changes.

The Graduate Catalog is available to students in both print and electronic forms. Print catalogs are updated annually. Electronic versions of the Graduate Catalog may be updated more frequently to reflect changes approved by the campus community. As such, students are encouraged to refer to the most recently available electronic version of the Graduate Catalog. This version is available at the Mines website. The electronic version of the Graduate Catalog is considered the official version of this document. In case of disagreement between the electronic and print versions, the electronic version takes precedence.

Curriculum Changes

The Mines Board of Trustees reserves the right to change any course of study or any part of the curriculum to respond to educational and scientific developments. No statement in this catalog or in the registration of any student shall be considered as a contract between Colorado School of Mines and the student.

Making up Undergraduate Deficiencies

If the department or program decides that new students do not have the necessary background to complete an advanced degree, they will be required to enroll in courses for which they will receive no credit toward their graduate degree, or complete supervised readings, or both. Students are notified of their apparent deficiency areas in their acceptance letter from the Graduate School or in their first interview with their department advisor. Departments will provide the list of deficiencies to the students no later than one week after the start of classes of their first semester in order to allow them to add/drop courses, as necessary. Grades for these deficiency courses are recorded on the student’s undergraduate transcript and could impact a student's academic standing in their graduate program. 

Graduate Students in Undergraduate Courses

Students may take undergraduate courses of interest or deemed necessary to fully carry out thesis research.  These courses cannot be used to fulfill the requirements for the degree, which must be 500-level and above.

Undergraduate Students in Graduate Courses

With the consent of the student’s department and the Dean of Graduate Studies, a qualified senior may enroll in 500-level courses without being a registered graduate student. At least a 2.5 GPA is required.  Any undergraduate taking graduate-level credit must receive approval and agree to the specific terms selected.

·       Students requesting the credits as undergraduate credits or those who do not qualify to have the credits listed on the graduate transcript must register for the course as UG (undergraduate credit).  The credits will be listed on the undergraduate transcript and the credits will impact the undergraduate GPA.     

·       Students who request the credits as graduate-level credits and meet the qualifications to have the credits listed on the graduate transcript must register for the course as GR (graduate credit).  The credits will be listed on the graduate transcript and the credits will impact the graduate level GPA.

·       Once registered as UG or GR, the level cannot be changed after Census Day of the semester in which the course is taken.

·       Students may apply up to 12 credits of unused graduate-level coursework, registered as GR, while enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student, toward a Mines graduate degree.  For students in a combined program, these credits are in addition to the 6 credits being counted toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees as double counted courses.

·       Financial aid may be impacted.  Email for more information on financial aid impacts.

Cross-Listed Courses

Only the graduate section of a 4xx/5xx cross-listed course can count toward a graduate degree or graduate certificate.  Students may only receive credit for one section of a 4xx/5xx cross-listed course.  For example, if a student received credit for the undergraduate section (4xx), the graduate section (5xx) cannot be taken for graduate credit.  No more than 50% of the credits used to award a graduate degree can come from graduate sections of 4xx/5xx cross-listed courses.



Mines students are expected to fulfill their academic requirements through attendance and/or participation. Class attendance is required of all students unless the student has an excused absence granted by the school or the student’s professor. Excused absences may be granted for five general reasons:

  1. Student is unable to attend class due to unexpected and immediate physical or mental wellbeing concerns (illness, surgery, injury, mental health, or hospitalization). In this regard, the student is reasonably unable to attend class, or it is in the best interest of the student’s health and/or the health of the Mines community for the student to be excused.
  2. Student has a documented personal reason for the absence (e.g., jury duty, death in the immediate family, religious holiday or observance, etc.) or unforeseen, unavoidable, and anomalous conflict subject to review and approval.
  3. Student is a sanctioned athlete and representing Mines in a sanctioned athletics activity per the Athletics Department.
  4. Student is representing Mines in an authorized activity related to a club or academic endeavor such as: academic competitions, student professional society conferences, department-sponsored trip, authorized research opportunity or request, club sport competition, program-sponsored competitions, etc. Regularly scheduled and/or recurring commitments may not qualify.
  5. Student is granted an excused absence through a sanctioned office because of protected, unexpected, sensitive, or time-sensitive circumstance(s). Sanctioned offices are Office for Institutional Equity (i.e., Title IX), SOS, DSS, Dean of Students Office/VPSA.

It is recognized that excused absences will occasionally occur, and faculty are expected to establish and clearly communicate the Excused Absence Policy and course-specific guidance or expectations in their course Syllabus.

Faculty may grant an excused absence for their own course upon request by a student.

Student requests for an excused absence does not guarantee approval. Students may be asked to provide documentation and the excused absence request is subject to approval by Student Life. Approval may consider all aspects of the request, including the duration of the request and nature of the request.

Opportunistic or habitual abuse of the excused absence policy violates the Mines Code of Conduct. Any patterns of absences that specifically result in missing exams/tests/quizzes may be investigated.

Once an Excused Absence is Granted:

The University expects each student to be responsible for learning material missed because of an excused absence.

If the student missed an in-class graded activity because of their excused absence, the faculty have the following options:

  1. Require that the activity be made up within a reasonable time frame based on the situation as determined by the faculty member.
  2. Require that an alternative activity be completed within a reasonable time frame based on the situation as determined by the faculty member.
    1. If it is deemed necessary by the faculty to use an alternative activity, it should be comparable in terms of rigor and time of completion to the original activity in such a way that having missed the original activity will not penalize the student.
    2. The alternative activity should also align with the same learning objectives as the original graded activity.
  3. Remove the graded activity from the student’s overall grade calculation: If the faculty determines certain graded activities have pedagogical value which cannot be reasonably replicated, they will instead remove those graded activities from the student’s overall grade calculation.
    1. This will be separate from any grading adjustment(s) - including but not limited to dropping the lowest grade(s) - available to the rest of the class.

Any out-of-class graded activities that are due on the day of an excused absence may be accommodated. The details can be established by faculty based on the student situation or more generally in their course syllabus.

Excessive Absences

A student can jeopardize their opportunity to gain and demonstrate course mastery with excessive absences.

Further, a student can jeopardize their academic status with an unreasonable number of removed graded activities. If the number of removed graded activities (defined as #3 from “Once an Excused Absence is Granted”) surpasses a reasonable threshold set by the faculty in the course Syllabus, then additional missed graded activities may not be removed, and the student may be advised to withdraw from the course or receive the subsequent and appropriate grade, which may include failure of the course.

Students should review the Incomplete and Complete Hardship or Medical Withdrawal Policies if they believe that these procedures may apply in their situation given excessive absences. Additional information on Withdrawals can be found here and information on incompletes can be found here.

Any student with chronic absences may be required to meet with Student Life to discuss resources available to them to reduce future absences.

Unexcused Absences

All absences that are not documented as excused absences are considered unexcused absences. Faculty members may deny a student the opportunity to make up some or all work missed due to an unexcused absence(s). However, faculty members have discretion to grant a student permission to make up any missed academic work for an unexcused absence. The faculty member may consider the student’s class performance and attendance in the decision.

Important Note: Faculty will seek to honor all documented excused absences according to this policy and the course Syllabus. However, class attendance is essential to understand the material and for learning to take place. Excessive or opportunistic absences regardless of the reason may result in a reduced or failing grade in the course based on course content and delivery. As content and delivery differ among faculty and classes, it is important for a student missing class to discuss the absences, excused or unexcused, with his/her/their faculty member(s) to determine what will be considered excessive.

Withdrawing from School

To officially withdraw from Mines, a graduate student must submit a Withdrawal from Graduate School form to the Office of Graduate Studies. If the form is submitted by Census Day, the student will be dropped from all credits and receive a full refund. If the form is submitted after Census Day, the student will receive grades of W in courses in progress and will be charged the full tuition and fees (see the Payment and Refund section). If the student does not officially withdraw, the course grades are recorded as F’s and the student will be responsible for the tuition and fees due.  Federal aid recipients should check with the Financial Aid office to determine what impact a withdrawal may have on current or future aid.

Students who leave school without submitting a Withdrawal from Graduate School form, but decide to return at a later date, will need to apply for admission and be readmitted.

PhD students planning to voluntarily withdraw from their doctoral program may potentially depart Mines with an earned master’s degree. Approval is subject to review of student academic performance, including earned credit for coursework and/or research. For more information on this potential pathway, students should speak with their faculty advisor or the Office of Graduate Studies. The Office of Graduate Studies is responsible for oversight and administration of this pathway. While the graduate dean ultimately approves the student request, all relevant parties including the faculty advisor and departmental or program leadership will be included. This option is not applicable to those seeking temporary leave from Mines.