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Course Withdrawal

Undergraduate Students

Beginning the day after add/drop period through the 20th day of the term, students may withdraw (with a "W" grade) from classes in MyCSUSM.

Beginning the 21st day of the term, through the end of the 12th week, students will be required to provide third party documentation to support the withdrawal and obtain approval from the faculty and department chair, dean, or dean's designee.

After the 12th week of the term, the withdrawal request must be reviewed and approved by a presidential appointee.

Undergraduate students are limited to a total of 18 units of withdrawals (W grades) over their entire undergraduate career. Students may monitor their withdrawals in MyCSUSM. For more information, please refer to the Withdrawal policy in the Catalog.

Graduate Students

Please refer to the Graduate Studies website for more information.

Withdrawal Timeline


Withdrawal Reason

20th day of the term through the end of the 12th week

Serious and Compelling Reasons*

Requires: documentation, faculty approval and department chair or dean or dean's designee

After the 12th week of the term

Accident or serious physical or mental illness, or serious personal or family problems

Requires: documentation, faculty approval and department chair or dean or dean's designee, AND review by an academic administrator

Requests for Withdrawal  for Serious and Compelling Reasons (20th day through 12th week)

*Serious and Compelling Reasons:

The following situations are typical of those for which "serious and compelling" is appropriate justification for approving withdrawals.

  • An extended absence due to a verifiable accident, illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the university.
  • An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family. This applies to absences exceeding a week due to family affairs that must be attended to by the student.
  • A necessary change in employment status which interferes with the student's ability to attend class. The student's employer must verify this change in employment status in writing for the term in which the withdrawal is being requested.
  • Other unusual or very special cases, considered on their own merit.

The following situations would not fall under the intent of "serious and compelling."

  • Grade anticipated in class is not sufficiently high, or student is doing failing work.
  • Failure to attend class, complete assignments, or take a test.
  • Dissatisfaction with course material, instructional method, or instructor.
  • Class is harder than expected.
  • Pressure of other classes, participation in social activities, or simple lack of motivation.
  • A change of major.

Students may withdraw, on or before, the Add/Drop deadline (end of the second week of semester, end of approximately 10% of the academic term) and the course will not appear on their permanent records. No symbol need be recorded in such instances. After the second week of instruction and prior to the 19th day of the semester, students may withdraw with a “W” for reasons such as inadequate preparation. In connection with all other approved withdrawals, the “W” symbol shall be used. Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester-units attempted at CSU San Marcos during their undergraduate career.

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