2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Bachelor’s Degree Definitions and Regulations


A major is a prescribed set of courses, number of credit hours or academic experiences in one or more academic disciplines. Completion of a major is designed to assure disciplined and cumulative study, carried on over an extended period of time in an important field of intellectual inquiry. No course may be applied to more than one set of major or minor requirements without the express approval of the dean(s) of the major.


A minor is a prescribed set of courses, number of credit hours or academic experiences in one or more academic disciplines. Completion of the minor is designed to assure more than an introduction to an important intellectual field of study but less than a major in that field. A minor is traditionally outside the major field of study. The department offering the minor typically defines the requirements.

Emphasis, Focus and/or Concentration

Unless otherwise defined specifically within the catalog, an emphasis, focus or concentration is a guided subset of courses or academic experiences defined by the major department and is typically, but not always, within the major area. Emphasis may be further defined as consistent with specific accrediting body requirements (e.g., journalism).


A program is a shared series of courses or experiences.

Area of Study

While used generically throughout the catalog, area of study could be replaced by major, minor or emphasis/concentration in most cases.

Career Track

This term has meaning within student records software and is used with reference to pre-professional program advising as a way to provide appropriate guidance on course selection and experiences, not necessarily tied to a major or minor.

Semester Hour

The unit of measure for academic credit purposes is the semester hour. A semester hour is equivalent to one hour of recitation or a minimum of two hours of laboratory per week for a semester or an equivalent time for a shorter term. Two hours of preparation for each classroom hour, on the average, are expected.


The faculty definition of grades, and the point system designed to indicate quality of work, is as follows:

A 4.00 – Excellent
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00 – Good
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00 – Satisfactory
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00 – Poor
D- 0.67
F 0.00 – Failing

P – Passed the course

NC – No credit awarded for the course

In all cases where academic policy requires a grade of “C” or better, a “C-” does not meet that criteria. The same applies for “B” and “B-.”

Non-Grade Designators

I – Designates course has not been completed and a final grade has not been assigned. (The “I” must be removed within the first 60 days of the long semester immediately following, or it is changed to an “F.” Any extension must have written approval of the instructor and dean. This policy does not apply to senior Honors research papers/theses, graduate thesis or dissertation hours.

Q – Removed from the course by an academic dean.

AU – Officially audited


Undergraduate students may elect a Pass/No-Credit (P/NC) grading option. They may do so by indicating their choice in writing to the Office of the Registrar or online using the student records course edit in my.tcu.edu no later than the date listed in the academic calendar for electing the P/NC grading option. Courses taken on a P/NC basis are graded "P" (pass) and "NC" (no credit). These P/NC courses are not counted in computing the student's GPA and cannot replace a prior grade in the GPA. A "P" course, however, will carry credit hours and be used toward a student's total hours required for graduation. A "P" indicates achievement equivalent to a “C-” or better. Achievement equivalent to a "D+" or below results in the grade of "NC." Students earn no credit hours in courses in which the grade of "NC" is received. After the last day to elect a Pass/No-Credit grading option, this decision is irrevocable.

Students may take up to two courses (eight hours maximum) on a P/NC basis. No course applied to the student’s major, minor or associated requirements may be taken on the P/NC basis. Students in the Neeley School of Business may not take any course in the lower-division business sequence or in the upper-division business core on the P/NC basis. Students in the College of Education may not take any education course required for teacher certification or in the student’s teaching content area on the P/NC basis. Courses offered only with the P/NC grade will not be counted toward this limit on the number of P/NC hours. The P/NC option is not allowed in any English as a foreign language courses offered by the English Language Center.

Student-Initiated Withdrawal

The purpose of student-initiated withdrawal from courses is to enhance the learning opportunity in a program of study. On recognition that a student may lack the background needed for the mastery of course content, the subject matter in a course does not match student need or interest as anticipated, or that course requirements will limit effective appropriation of learning in a semester's overall program of study, a student may officially withdraw from the course.

Mere absence from a class does not constitute withdrawal. To withdraw from a course, a student must follow official established procedure. Students may withdraw from classes with no academic penalty through 70 percent of class days. The last day to declare P/NC will be the day following the last day to withdraw. (Exam days are considered class days. The last day to withdraw will be the last whole day not to exceed 70 percent.) The date of withdrawal for all purposes, including tuition adjustment, shall be the date of official withdrawal. No withdrawals are allowed after this date during the fall and spring semesters or a comparable period during a shorter term.

Any student experiencing unusual hardship may seek special consideration through a written petition to the dean of the college of his or her major. Petitions should, where possible, be documented with supporting statements from a doctor, counselor or family member. Doing unsatisfactory work in a course is not sufficient reason for special consideration. If, in the opinion of the dean, the request is justified, a grade of "Q" (dropped by the dean's permission) may be assigned by the dean after consultation with the instructor of the course, the chair of the department and the dean of the school/college in which the course is offered. Any dean assigning a "Q" will notify the Office of the Registrar.

Audit Enrollment (Course Visitor)

Occasional visitation of classes by students is allowed with the consent of the instructor. Any extended attendance requires enrollment as an audit. Auditors are admitted to classes on a space-available basis only. An audit fee is charged. TCU Scholars (See Recognitions (p. 42) section) are given the opportunity to audit one class (for which auditing is permitted) without fee within the enrollment semesters for the current degree. TCU Scholars are expected to follow the established regulations for auditors. The following regulations are applicable:

  1. Certain classes—laboratory and clinical classes; ranch management day classes; laboratory sections of lecture classes; activity and performance classes, such as in studio art, music and dance—may not be audited. (Evening ranch management classes may be audited at full tuition and fees.)
  2. The only period during which students may register for an audit or change a credit class to audit is from the second day of late registration to the last day of late registration as published in the University calendar. It is recommended that prospective students consult the instructors of courses in which they are interested before they register. Students wishing to audit graduate courses must be admitted for graduate study and have written approval of either the instructor of the course for which they wish to register or the dean of the school/college in which the course is taught.
  3. Classroom recitation and participation may be restricted at the discretion of the instructor; no grade is assigned and no credit is awarded.
  4. If credit is desired, the student must register for and repeat the regular course after paying regular tuition.
  5. The student's name will appear on the instructor's class roll. In order for "AU" to appear on the transcript, however, the instructor must certify at the end of the semester that the student has attended as an auditor. Audits not approved by the instructor as a final grade will be omitted from the student record.