Continuation Requirements


You must achieve a satisfactory record of academic performance each semester (semester continuation) and make satisfactory progress toward graduation each year (annual continuation) in order to continue in Trinity College.

Semester Continuation Requirements (Satisfactory Performance Each Term)

Semester continuation requires that you pass a minimum number of course credits each semester to remain enrolled at Duke.

In the Fall or Spring semester:

  • In your first semester at Duke, you must pass at least 2.0 course credits.
  • In your second semester and all semesters thereafter, you must pass at least 3.0 course credits. This applies if you are enrolled at Duke or are in an approved study away program (see below).

Incomplete work (e.g., the receipt of an X or an Incomplete with a reversion grade of F) is considered a failure to achieve satisfactory performance in that course. Therefore, where continuation is in question, incomplete work must be completed such that a passing grade can be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar by the appropriate deadline:

  • For continuation from the fall semester to the spring semester, the deadline by which you must have passed 2.0 or 3.0 credits is 4 p.m. of the day before spring classes begin. Note that this deadline is strictly observed, so you should be sure to submit all work or arrange to take a missed final exam early enough that your instructor can submit a final grade.
  • For continuation from the spring semester to the fall semester, the deadline is 4 p.m. on the day one week prior to the first day of summer term II classes. However, if you have enrolled in summer term I classes or are scheduled to participate in summer study away, Duke Engage or other program requiring you to be an active student in good standing, the deadline is 4 p.m. of the day before the first day of summer term I. If you do not meet semester continuation at this time, your enrollment in summer term I and participation in study away or other Duke program will be canceled. This may have financial repercussions for you.

In the Summer Session:

  • If you are enrolled in more than one summer school course at Duke, you may not fail more than one credit taken during the summer.
  • Incomplete work in a summer class is considered a failure to achieve a satisfactory performance in that course. Therefore, when eligibility to continue from the summer session to the fall is in question, incomplete courses (e.g., an X grade or an Incomplete with a reversion grade of F)  must be satisfactorily completed in time for a passing grade to be submitted to the Office of the University Registrar no later than 4 p.m. of the weekday preceding the first day of fall classes. 

Your academic dean will notify you in writing if you do not meet continuation, and of the deadline that you are subject to. If you then fail to meet semester continuation, you will be dismissed for academic reasons for a period of two semesters.  The summer may count as one semester. If after your return, you again fail to meet the minimum requirements, you will be placed on a second academic dismissal and will be eligible to return after two years (six semesters). Each subsequent dismissal will require an additional two years (six semesters) of separation from Trinity College. The Time Away Office coordinates dismissals and returns. 

Semester Continuation Requirement When Studying Abroad

When you return from a period of study abroad on a Duke-approved program, the Global Education Office will convert the non-Duke transcript into equivalent Duke course credits and assign academic credit to you accordingly. Only after it has been determined how much Duke credit you have earned will your continuation at Duke be determined in accordance with normal standards for continuation. Thus, if you receive at least 3.0 Duke course credits following a semester abroad, you will have met continuation requirements. However, if the conversion of non-Duke to Duke credit results in the assignment of less than 3.0 course credits, you will not have met continuation and will be subject to academic dismissal for a period of two semesters. Similarly, if you study abroad during the summer, you are subject to the same continuation requirements as students who attend Duke in the summer. It is your responsibility when studying abroad to make sure you are enrolled in a sufficient number of courses to comply with continuation requirements. Not infrequently students studying abroad will need to complete 5 courses abroad in order to earn 4 credits at Duke in transfer. Note that it is not the number of courses taken abroad, but the received credit for those courses that applies to semester continuation. 

Annual Continuation Requirements (Satisfactory Progress Toward 34 Credits)

Each year prior to the beginning of the fall term, you must have made satisfactory progress toward completion of the 34 credits required for graduation to be eligible to continue as a student. The minimum number of courses you must have passed each semester is as follows: 

To begin this semester ...... you need these credits ......

  • 2nd semester at Duke - 2.0 course credits at Duke
  • 3rd semester at Duke - 6.0 course credits at Duke
  • 4th semester at Duke - 10.0 course credits at Duke
  • 5th semester at Duke - 14.0 course credits at Duke
  • 6th semester at Duke - 19.0 course credits at Duke
  • 7th semester at Duke - 24.0 course credits. These must include at least 22.0 taken at Duke and may include 2 AP, IPC, PMC, or transfer courses
  • 8th semester at Duke - 28.0 course credits. These must include at least 26.0 taken at Duke and may include 2 AP, IPC, PMC, or transfer courses

Your progress for annual continuation is checked in May. If it is determined that you will not meet annual continuation before the fall semester begins, you will be required to attend one or both summer sessions at Duke to make up the required credits. This course work must be completed at Duke specifically in order to enable you to meet this strict deadline.  If you fail to satisfy annual continuation requirements by 4 p.m. of the weekday before the first day of fall classes, you will be dismissed for academic reasons for two semesters.     

There are limits on the ability of some courses to count toward annual continuation. Of the 34 course credits required for graduation, you may count no more than:

  • Two AP, IPC, PMC credits; these credits apply only for continuation to the 7th and 8th semesters
  • Two transfer credits taken by direct enrollment at another approved, 4-year college or university in the U.S. or abroad; these credits apply only for continuation to the 7th and 8th semesters
  • Ten transfer credits taken either on study abroad or in combination with the allowable number of direct enrollment transfer credits
  • Four elective courses completed on the S/U basis
  • Two credits with a grade of D-, D, or D+
  • One credit of physical education activity (= two 0.5 credit courses)
  • Four credits of dance performance/American Dance Festival course work (= eight 0.5 credit courses)
  • Two credits for house courses (= four 0.5 credit courses)
  • Six credits from a Duke professional school
  • Four credits in military science
  • One credit from academic internships

Courses taken beyond these limits (e.g., a third physical education course or more than 2 courses with D grades) will appear on your Duke transcript and will count toward semester continuation requirements and curriculum and major requirements as appropriate; however they will not count toward the 34 credits required for graduation.

If you have interrupted your study at Duke with a voluntary or involuntary separation, the continuation requirement must still be satisfied before the beginning of each fall term. The number of courses needed to satisfy the continuation requirement is determined from the table above, based on which semester you will enter in the fall term. Note that a semester in which you did not meet semester continuation requirements and were involuntarily dismissed from Duke does not count as a completed semester for annual continuation purposes.

Any student excluded from the college under the provisions of these regulations may on request have the case reviewed by the senior associate dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences.

See also: