Academic Policies

Degree Requirements 

The general degree requirements are the same for the B.A. and the B.S.. To be eligible for the bachelor’s degree, students must complete 128 credits with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. Within these, students must fulfill the requirements of both a major and the core curriculum. The degree requirements to be fulfilled are those in effect during the term of the student’s first registration in NYU Shanghai. Registration in another division of NYU does not constitute registration in NYU Shanghai. Students may petition to follow the graduation requirements of a later cohort but must abide by all of the graduation requirements of the later cohort and may lose requirements (but not credits) earned for courses which meet requirements for the earlier cohort but not for the later one.

Readmitted students must fulfill the requirements as listed in the Bulletin published during the year of their readmission, unless their readmission letter states otherwise.

In very exceptional cases, a student may petition the Academic Standards Committee for approval of a change in the requirements as stated in the Bulletin.

The Major

Major requirements, varying from subject to subject, are specified in the sections devoted to the course listings of individual majors. Generally, one-third to one half of the total credits are earned in the major concentration.

Every student must complete a major with a cumulative grade point average in the major of at least 2.0. At least one-half of the courses as well as one-half of the credits used to complete the major must be taken in the disciplinary area. A student may not register for courses in the major outside of NYU. The student must be approved as a major and must review his or her program with an academic advisor each term.

Course offerings are subject to the availability of faculty. Therefore, it is not possible to guarantee that any particular course listed will be offered in a particular academic year. If failure to offer a course in a student’s approved minor will delay their graduation, they should consult with their advisor to consider available options.


Students should discuss their major plans with their advisors. It is best to concentrate on completing breadth and general education requirements in the first two years since interest in majors may change as students take classes in different disciplines and changing majors may delay graduation for some students.

Students may declare a major prior to registration for the next semester if they are registered for enough credits in the current semester so that at the end of it they will have completed at least 32 credits (typically when registering for fall of their second year). They must have a final grade of C, or current semester midterm grade of B, or higher in a designated prerequisite course for that major.

Students must declare a major prior to registration for the next semester if they are registered for enough credits in the current semester so that at the end of it they will have completed 64 credits (typically registering for fall of their third year). They must have a final grade of C, or current semester midterm grade of B, or higher in a designated prerequisite course for that major.

Double Major

Students may attempt a double (second) major. The same requirements, including the maintenance of a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the major, apply to the second major as to the first. In some cases, courses may be applicable to both majors but no more than two major courses may be approved for double counting unless otherwise specified in the major section of the Bulletin.

Students should consult with their advisor before attempting a double major as the requirements of the first major and the second limit the options for students to pursue varied intellectual interests. It is also difficult to complete two majors in the standard 128 credits. Requirements for completing a major as a double major are the same as detailed for the major requirements.

Core Curriculum classes do not count against double counting limits to fill major or minor requirements, but no single course may be used to meet more than two requirements.

The second major is declared the same way as the first but students do not receive priority in enrolling in second major classes before their last semester. Therefore, the ability to satisfy the requirements for an additional major cannot be guaranteed for any student and will be based upon course availability and the time that the student is willing to invest to satisfy all of the requirements of the additional major. In some cases, pursuing a double major will require a delay in graduation and/or limit study away opportunities.

Requirements for Minors

Students may minor in subjects outside of their major. A minor in a secondary subject enables a student to acquire a useful understanding of concepts and analysis without the same degree of coverage as would be obtained in a major. A grade of C or better is required for a course to be counted toward a minor. If a student fails a course required for the minor, the course must be retaken at NYU; a course taken outside the University will not normally be allowed to substitute for a minor requirement. No course for the minor may be taken as pass/fail. Students may use Core Curriculum classes to fill minor requirements but at least 12 credits of the minor must be unique to the minor, meaning that it is not double-counted with any other major, minor, or core requirement.

Additionally, no single course may be used to meet more than two requirements.

Regulations Pertaining to Both Major and Minor

The major and minor requirements to be followed are those stated in the major sections of the Bulletin in effect during the semester of the student’s first registration in NYU Shanghai. A student may petition through their advisor to follow major graduation requirements as set out in a Bulletin from a subsequent year after their first semester of registration. If approved, they must meet those requirements as outlined in that edition of the Bulletin. Any courses they may have completed, or complete, which were required under the old major requirements but not under the new will be counted as general elective rather than major credit.

No credit toward the major or minor is granted for grades of C- or lower, although such grades will be computed into the grade point average of the major or the minor, as well as into the cumulative grade point average.

No course to be counted toward the major or minor may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. (See “Pass/Fail Option” under Academic Policies in this Bulletin.)

In order to ensure that students do not have to compete for access to their required courses, registration priority is given to students who are registering for courses in their primary major. Although the university encourages the exploration of other disciplines, access to courses outside a student’s primary major (including those courses that fulfill requirements for an additional major, minor, etc.) is on a space-available basis and is not guaranteed.

Time Limit

All requirements for a degree at NYU Shanghai must be met within a period of eight years from the date of matriculation. For students who are re-admitted to NYU Shanghai, the length of time is proportionately reduced.


The programs and courses offered at NYU Shanghai are designed for students who attend classes offered on a full-time basis. A full-time schedule normally consists of 16 credits per term, or 32 credits per year, which enables a student to complete the entire program of 128 credits in four years. Minimal full-time status entails completing at least 12 credits per term, or 24 credits per year. Students who wish to attend part-time should obtain permission from the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs prior to the start of the semester. Such status will be granted only when there is good and sufficient reason for part-time study. Failure to complete a minimum of 24 credits per year jeopardizes a student’s full-time status and his or her eligibility to receive financial aid. Students may enroll in fewer than 12 credits in their final semester but still maintain full-time status if they are enrolled in the course(s) that they need to graduate that semester and have applied for degree conferral that term.

Students in good academic standing may register for more than 18 credits per term after their first year with the clearance of their academic advisor and approval of the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs.

There are additional per credit costs for each credit above 18 as well as an additional registration fee and added costs for textbooks and materials in a given semester.

Change of Program

To make any changes in their program, including dropping or adding courses given in other divisions of NYU, students must access the Albert Student Center.

Adding Courses

The deadline for the adding of a course or a section is the end of the second week of the semester. The deadline applies to any course added by an NYU Shanghai student and to any NYU Shanghai course added by students from other divisions. The adding of any course or section after the end of the second week is generally allowed only when the student is changing levels within a discipline—for example, from a Chinese or mathematics course to a higher- or lower-level course in the same discipline. The changing of levels is permitted only with the written approval of the instructor, any other relevant administrators, and the student’s advisor.


Matriculated students in NYU Shanghai may audit (i.e., attend lectures without intending to receive credit) any course in NYU Shanghai with the consent of, and under the conditions established by, the instructor and the major. Auditors count against the enrollment cap for a course and may not preempt space required for students registering for a letter grade.
Courses cannot be audited as a means of satisfying requirements for an incomplete grade or as a means of changing a previous grade. World Language classes may not be audited. Students may not audit classes during their first year of enrollment at NYU Shanghai.

Students seeking to audit a course must register as an auditor by the end of the add/drop period and audited courses will appear on the student’s official transcript. Special (non-degree) students may not audit courses. Once a course is declared as an audited course it may not be changed to a letter grade or pass/fail course. If the credit value of the audited course causes the total number of credits to exceed 18, an overload petition is required and overload charges apply.

Students that officially audit a course are expected to complete the work that is agreed upon by the instructor. There is no credit given for the course, though the course would appear on the student’s record with a mark of “R” for Registered Auditor. If the student does not comply with the stated expectations, then the instructor could issue a “F” grade and that mark would be calculated into the student’s overall GPA.


Although the administration of NYU Shanghai does not supervise attendance of classes, it supports the standards imposed by instructors.

When students are ill, they are expected to notify professors in advance of class, if at all possible. If the instructor determines that it is an excused absence then the student should negotiate with the professor the time and place for make-up of assignments, tests and/or examinations missed. Students who have been seriously ill, hospitalized and/or miss more than a week of classes due to medical reasons, should contact their academic advisor to discuss appropriate options for missed classes and/or coursework.

A student with an injury or medical condition that requires ongoing accommodations (temporary or permanent) should contact the NYU Moses Center for Student Accessibility (CSA). If an accommodation is recommended by the Moses Center, then Academic Affairs may communicate on behalf of students to advocate for excused absences/extensions. Reasonable accommodations, considering the course objectives, student learning, and fair standards, are ultimately decided by the professor.

Students who, in the judgment of the instructor, have not substantially met the requirements of the course or who have been excessively absent are not considered to have withdrawn from the course if they remain on the roster and may be given the final grade of F.

Religious Holidays and Attendance

NYU, as a nonsectarian institution, and NYU Shanghai, as a degree-granting campus of NYU, adhere to the general policy of including in its official calendar only certain legal holidays. However, it has also long been NYU policy that members of any religious group may, without penalty, absent themselves from classes when compliance with their religious obligations requires it. In 1988, the NYU University Senate affirmed this policy and passed a resolution that elaborated on it as follows:

  1. Students who anticipate being absent because of any religious observance should, whenever possible, notify faculty in advance of such anticipated absence.
  2. Whenever feasible, examinations and assignment deadlines should not be scheduled on religious holidays. Any student absent from class because of religious beliefs shall not be penalized for any class, examination, or assignment deadline missed on that day or days.
  3. If examinations or assignment deadlines are scheduled, any student who is unable to attend class because of religious beliefs shall be given the opportunity to make up that day or days.
  4. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who avails himself or herself of the above provisions.

Policy on Class Conduct

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes unless the instructor explicitly informs the class that other ways of doing the work are acceptable. The action to be taken in regard to tardiness, absence from class or making up late work is the responsibility of the individual instructor; the instructor should consult with the student’s academic advisor and the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs if major action, such as dropping the student from the course, is being considered.

All classes will be held at their scheduled hour on days immediately before and after all holidays and recesses. Both faculty and students are expected to be present.

Students are permitted to be absent from classes to participate in authorized contests, conferences, and presentations, provided the following conditions are met:

  • All work missed must be made up to the satisfaction of the instructor(s) concerned;
  • No trip shall involve an absence of more than two days, excluding days when classes are not scheduled;
  • The total number of days of absence shall not exceed six per sport or per organization annually;
  • Each student will obtain an absence authorization signed by the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. The student will present this authorization to the instructor. This is not an excuse for work missed.

Technology affords many students access to portable devices including cell phones, PDAs, and laptops. It is expected that students will respect the wishes of faculty with regard to the use of electronic devices within the academic environment.

No student shall leave a scheduled exercise because of the absence of the instructor until a reasonable time has passed. By tradition and as a matter of courtesy, a student should wait 10 minutes before leaving.

Authorized Contests, Conferences, and Presentations

Authorized contests, conferences, and presentations are those approved by the Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs. Authorized contests are limited to athletic games and matches involving official NYU Shanghai sports teams and to students on the active team roster; and academic competitions sponsored by an NYU Shanghai Academic Dean and to students selected to represent NYU Shanghai at the competition. Authorized conferences are limited to conferences sponsored by an NYU Shanghai Academic Dean and to students selected by NYU Shanghai to attend the conference (this is in addition to any selection process that the conference might have). In some cases limited funding may be available to students selected to attend a conference. Funding is not available to attend conferences to which all qualified NYU Shanghai students did not have an opportunity to apply for selection. Academic Affairs only provides funding for academic conferences. Non-academic conferences, including those focusing on leadership, are sponsored through Student Life and do not allow students approved absences from classes. Authorized presentations are limited to those at forums sponsored by an NYU Shanghai Academic Dean and presenters to those approved by NYU Shanghai. In some cases limited funding will be available to students selected for a presentation.


Leave of Absence

NYU Shanghai expects its students to maintain continuous registration in an academic program with the exception of summer breaks. However, it is sometimes necessary or desirable for a student to take a leave from enrollment for a period of time. The duration of the leave generally will be a minimum of one academic semester, or an equivalent four month period, to a maximum of two academic semesters or the equivalent in months (8 months). Such leaves may be voluntary or involuntary, and will be handled in accordance with the NYU-wide Student Leave Policy and Procedure ( As it applies to NYU Shanghai, the “Dean of the School” refers to the NYU Shanghai Dean of Students and the “Provost” refers to the NYU Shanghai Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs. Questions about references to specific offices within this policy should be referred to the NYU Shanghai Dean of Students. The paragraphs below briefly summarize the NYU Policy, but individuals considering a leave are encouraged to review the full NYU policy referenced above before making any final decisions.

NYU Shanghai students are expected to absent themselves from campus during their leave of absence. They may not audit classes, hold a campus job, participate with a student club or organization, attend campus events, or live in NYU housing. You may visit the campus for any other University-owned facilities only with the written permission of the Dean of Students or designee. Students on leave may not enroll in courses until they are approved to return.

Voluntary Leave

NYU recognizes that situations may arise when a student may want to voluntarily interrupt his or her academic studies. The University is committed to handling reasonable requests for leaves in a responsible manner. This policy may not be used in lieu of disciplinary action to address any violations of University rules, regulations, policies, or practices. A student who is granted a voluntary leave while on academic and/or disciplinary status will return to that same status.

Involuntary Leave

NYU may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence from that student’s academic program when that student:

  1. poses a direct threat to health and safety of self or others; and
  2. is not able or not willing to take a voluntary leave of absence.

This policy may not be used in lieu of disciplinary actions to address any violations of University rules, regulations, policies, or practices. A student who is placed on an involuntary leave while on academic and/or disciplinary status will return to that same status.

Returning from a Leave of Absence

Students returning from a leave of absence are expected to successfully complete one academic semester (Fall or Spring) of full-time coursework in Shanghai before being eligible to enroll in a study away program. If a student is absent for two or more consecutive terms, they will be placed on non-sanctioned leave. Any student who has been out of attendance and/or on non-sanctioned leave for two or more consecutive terms and who wishes to return must apply for readmission.

Additional Policies