CAP End of Term Academic Review

At the end of each regular term, the Registrar flags the records of students whose term GPA is 3.0 or lower, or whose end of term registration is 35 or fewer units. (Because of special freshman grading, the standard for first-year students is 39 or fewer units.)These records are reviewed first by the student’s home department, then by the CAP in two sets of meetings, Grades and Deferred Action. 

Students do not appear in person before the CAP. They are represented by the home department undergraduate officer and administrator at the Grades Meeting and the advisor at a Deferred Action Meeting. Students whose cases are considered at the Deferred Action Meeting are strongly encouraged to submit a written statement to the Committee well before the meeting.

Department Review

Once most grades are recorded, each academic department reviews the records of its students (majors) whose term GPA is 3.0 or below, or whose end of term registration is 35 or fewer units. (Because of special freshman grading, the standard for first-year students is 39 or fewer units. 

The department (OFY in the case of first-year students) decides on a recommended action for each student—No Action (which often includes a departmental warning), Warning, or Required Academic Leave. The department’s undergraduate officer and academic administrator present these recommendations to the CAP at the Grades Meetings. Departments may also ask the Committee to review records not flagged, if circumstances warrant.

Grades Meetings

At the Grades Meetings, held in the first weeks of January and June, the CAP reviews student records and considers department recommendations.

The Committee may accept the department’s recommendation, or may vote for a different action than the department recommends. 

Deferred Action Meetings

At the Deferred Action Meetings, in the third weeks of January and June, the CAP reviews two sets of student records in more depth. These include:

  • students for whom relevant information was not available at the Grades Meeting;
  • students who may be required to take a year away from MIT (Required Academic Leave).

In each case students are represented by their academic advisor or other departmental officer. Students are invited to submit a written statement for consideration at the meeting.

Meeting Decisions
  • No Action. Committee takes no formal action on the term’s performance. Nothing appears on the internal or external record. If made at the Grades Meeting, students and advisors are not notified, but the department may send a Departmental Warning letter, which is noted only in department records. No Action is occasionally voted at the Deferred Action Meetings, students and advisors are notified of the Deferred Action decision and the No Action vote. As before, nothing appears on the internal or external record.

  • Deferred Action. Voted at Grades Meetings, meaning CAP has postpone action as the Committee wants to hear more information; or the final vote may be Required Academic Leave. Students, advisors, departments, and housemasters are notified of the Deferred Action so that they can prepare information for the Deferred Action Meetings, held two weeks later. Students and advisors receive this notice by email and posted letter.

  • Warning. A formal notice to the student, advisor, and department that a student’s record does not meet MIT’s minimum requirements, so the student must make satisfactory progress toward the degree in the next term. A second term with an unsatisfactory record will raise the possibility of Required Academic Leave, though this is not automatic: the department and CAP review each term and student individually. Students on Warning have a credit limit for the following term (usually four subjects, 48-51 units). First-year students are strictly limited to 48 units. Occasionally CAP will impose a higher or lower limit, usually in response to departmental request. If the record at the end of the following term is satisfactory, the student is automatically removed from Warning status and has no credit limit in the following term. The CAP Chair sends a letter of congratulation to these students.

  • Communication Requirement Warning. Equivalent in every respect to Academic Warnings, but issued when CAP reviews the records of students who have not kept pace with the Communication Requirement. Based on recommendations from the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR), the CAP votes one of three Warnings: C (one term behind pace); CC (two or more terms behind pace); or WC (Academic Warning and behind pace). Each Warning carries a credit limit: C: an appropriate CI subject plus no more than four additional subjects (usually 60 units total); CC: an appropriate CI subject plus no more than three additional subjects (48-51 units total); and WC: an appropriate CI subject plus no more than three additional subjects (48-51 units). Students, address questions about Communication Requirement Warnings to the Communication Requirement Advisor (

  • Required Academic Leave. Student must stay away from MIT for at least a full calendar year. Its purpose is to give the student time to assess priorities, work at clearing issues or situations that contributed to failure, and prepare for possible return to MIT. In requiring this leave the CAP will state actions the student must take before applying to return, including coursework at another institution, medical treatment if warranted, employment, and/or other activities appropriate for the individual student. Such students should keep in touch with their advisor, department, and a dean in Student Support Services while on Required Academic Leave. CAP rarely imposes Required Academic Leave without at least one term spent on Warning, though circumstances sometimes warrant this. For full information about processes for Required Academic Leave and requesting return, see the Student Support Services website.