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Course Repeats & Grade Forgiveness

The following applies to undergraduate students. For information regarding the repeat policy for graduate students, please visit the Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures page (see Course Repeat Policy - Graduate). 

What do I need to know about repeating a class?

  • If you receive a grade below a C in a class, you may repeat it up to 2 times (3 total attempts). A fourth attempt requires approval from the Dean of the College or designee.
  • If you receive a C grade or higher, you may not repeat it.
  • When repeating a class, you will only receive credit once. 

Repeatable classes: if the class is defined in the course description as repeatable for credit, the class may be repeated for credit, regardless of the original grade. The number of attempts is defined in the course description. For example, some literature classes cover a different topic each semester and students may take the class 2 or 3 times, each time earning credit. If this is applicable, it is indicated in the course description. Most classes are not repeatable.

What is Grade Forgiveness and what are its limits?

Grade forgiveness is the process where the initial non-passing grade for a repeated class is excluded from the GPA calculation. For instance, if I earn a D in GEW 101B (a 3-unit course) and later repeat it and earn an A, I will earn 3 units for the A grade and no units for the D grade. In addition, the D grade may be excluded from my GPA calculation so that only the A affects my GPA. 

  • First attempt:  D (not included in GPA calculation, no units earned)
  • Second attempt:  A (included in GPA calculation, 3 units earned)

At CSUSM (and in accordance with CSU Executive Order 1037), undergraduate students may receive up to 16 units of grade forgiveness. 

A few additional restrictions:

  • An additional 12 units (beyond the 16 units of grade forgiveness) may be repeated and averaged in the GPA.
  • Students are allowed to repeat a specific class twice (i.e., 3 total attempts). Exceptions to this limit must be approved by the college Dean or designee.
  • Students may repeat a class where a grade of "C-" or below (students may not re-enroll in a class in which they have earned a grade of "C" or higher).  

Limits on repeated classes apply to classes taken in matriculated status as well as classes completed via self support, e.g., extended learning or open university.