L&S Course and Class Section Cancellation Policy

Courses without enrolled students may be canceled without further inquiry. Depending on instructor’s obligations to the payrolling units, departments/programs should expect to reassign instructors to other courses/duties.

Fall and Spring Term Class Section Cancellation Policy:

If a decision is made to cancel a class section with student enrollments:
  • Early in the enrollment period (up to 6 weeks before the semester begins)
    • Departments are encouraged to contact students as early as possible to inform them of the cancellation
    • The Registrar’s Office will allow departments to cancel sections without L&S Academic Associate Dean permission, providing evidence is offered concerning notification of sudents and of the L&S Associate Dean to Teaching & Learning administration.
  • Late in the enrollment period (within 6 weeks of the new semester):
    • If enrollment is sufficient to offer a course, departments should make every effort to do so.
    • If the department decides to cancel a class section, they must contact the L&S Academic Associate Dean and L&S Associate Dean Teaching & Learning Administration for approval of the course cancellation.   They should have a plan for contacting students, moving students to other sections or courses, reassignment of instructional duties, etc.  See the section on Message to Students for more information about communicating with students.
    • Departments must carry through on the plan developed in consultation with L&S Administration.
    • The Registrar’s Office will not allow departments to cancel class sections without permission from the L&S Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning Administration.

Summer Term Class Section Cancellation Policy (all sessions):

  • Decisions for summer course offerings (all sessions) should be made by early May (see L&S Summer Budget Model).
  • Class sections without enrolled students may be canceled without further inquiry.
  • Cancellation of class sections with enrollment should be made in consultation with the L&S Summer Term Dean and the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching & Learning Administration.
  • If a decision to cancel a section with enrollment is approved, departments must contact students as early as possible to inform them of the cancellation.  (This is particularly important for international students who must maintain enrollment to maintain their visa status.)
  • Cancellation of Summer term courses that are required for year-round graduate programs should include appropriate alternatives for students who need to maintain their progress toward completion of their degrees.

Messages to Students

Messages to students should include the following information:
  • A clear statement that the course has been cancelled.
  • Offer alternatives (if any exist). 
  • Offer departmental contact information for questions.
  • Encourage students to reach out to their advisor if they need assistance selecting and enrolling in another course.
  • Remind students that cancellation may affect their full-time status, and depending on their individual circumstances, may affect athletic eligibility, financial aid, veteran's benefits, visa status, or progress to degree.

More information

For more information about the L&S course cancellation policy, please contact Shirin Malekpour, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, at shirin.malekpour@wisc.edu. Also, please see:



Keywords:cancel, class, low enrollment, course   Doc ID:94993
Owner:Kimbrin C.Group:L&S Administrative Gateway
Created:2019-10-15 10:19 CSTUpdated:2019-10-25 12:25 CST
Sites:L&S Administrative Gateway
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