I am a graduate student working on a double major, one in mathematics and the other in geology. The minimum required workload/semester for a grad student in my school is 9 credit hours/semester.

This semester, I am taking 13 credits hours, the majority of them are math classes. There is no research credit. That said, I still have to work on my research (both in geology and mathematics) independently. I am also a teaching assistant, working on average 9 hours/week.

I found the workload overwhelmed, but only after the deadline to drop courses without being counted as withdrawal (meaning a 'W' in the transcript). The instructor for the math course I want to drop, my advisors, and the maths department head all advised me to drop the course so that I can focus on finishing my thesis in geology by the end of this semester. FYI, there has been no grade/test/exam so far in the course.

My school has a petition form for students to fill out so that they can drop a class after the deadline. I submitted the petition with all the approval signatures from the advisors, course instructor and department head to the office of the registrar. In the petition, I told them the same reasons as above. However, my petition was disapproved by the university registrar. He left a comment: "I see no basis for drop, but withdrawal".

I am looking for a way to get my petition accepted. I believe my reasons are valid and they shouldn't make it hard for me. I am dropping the course not because I am slacking off or failing the course. In fact, I am already doing extra workload, more than most other graduate students.

Could you please give me some advice about how to convince the university registrar to approve my petition?

  • 2
    My only advice is to beg. Arguing with the decision will probably get you exactly nowhere. Beg from the department chair, not the registrar.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:28
  • Do you have a student union? Could you ask them if people in your university are likely to accept this and what you would have to do?
    – Hatschu
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:54
  • @Hatschu I don't understand much about the union thing. I guess there is a student union at my school. But I have never paid attention to anything besides my study so I have no clue how it works and how I should proceed. Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 13:19
  • @ASlowLearner I added the relevant country tag.
    – Tommi
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 13:46
  • 1
    Having a "W" on your transcript is not that big a deal. If someone asks about it later, tell them what you wrote here.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 20:13

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the only other course is to get the maths professor and maths head of Dept. to petition the university registrar as a "special" case...

But don't hold your hopes up, it is worth a try though.


The maths department head called the registrar and asked him to reconsider his decision. Today I just received an email from the registrar. He was very polite in the email and told me that he's reconsidered his decision and agreed to let me drop the course instead of withdrawal. So, thank you, everyone, for your help.

  • Good news, take care.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 12:25

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