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Course Withdrawal

 On this page you will find:

What to consider

Life can be unexpected, and there may be a time when you are considering withdrawing from one or more classes. Here are a few potential impacts to consider before you do so:

  • Your Financial Aid award for the semester may be impacted
  • Your Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid will be impacted
  • ​You will have to pay for at least a portion, if not all of your tuition and fees (see Refund policies page)
  • If you are an Athlete, it may affect your NCAA eligibility
  • If you are an F-1 or J-1 international student, it may affect your legal status.

How it works

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, students must submit a Withdrawal petition with supporting documentation in order to request a withdrawal. Through the end of the 12th week, petitions are reviewed by the faculty and department chair, dean, or dean's designee. After the 12th week of the term, petitions are reviewed by a presidential appointee. (See timeline below).

Undergraduate students are limited to a total of 18 units of withdrawals (W grades) over their entire undergraduate career. Students may view an unofficial transcript, which includes W grades in MyCSUSM (see Academics > View Unofficial Transcript). 

NOTE: Exceptions to the policy were aproved for Spring 2020. Please visit the Spring 2020 Academic Policies site for more information.   

Date in Semester Withdrawal Reason
20th day of the term through the end of the 12th week Serious and Compelling Reasons* Required: 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

Serious and Compelling Reasons

All withdrawal petitions require a 'serious and compelling' reason, including documentation. See below for examples.

  • Serious and compelling

    •  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.
  • Not 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.


How to Petition for a Course Withdrawal

Below are the 3 components of the Withdrawal petition. You will find the form for submitting at the bottom of the page.

(1) Instructor Signature/Consent

Instructor consent is required to submit a withdrawal request*. Please attach proof (e.g. screenshot of email communication) with your request.

*This is not required for Spring 2020.

(2) Statement for Withdrawing

It is important to submit a written response in a paragraph form explaining the serious and compelling reason, as well as a timeline of any events or experience that affected you, for a withdrawal petition.  Your written statement is very important in the event that you are not able to provide supporting documentation with your request.

If citing COVID-19, It will be helpful to know the reason, such as: a) you are sick b) you are taking care of a family member who is sick c) financial implications due to job loss or increase in hours as essential worker d) family responsibilities e) mental health/stress or f) challenges with the virtual learning environment. Please note that withdrawals for COVID-19 will be considered with leniency under the circumstances.

(3) Supplemental Documentation

Petitions for reasons other than COVID-19 should include documentation that provides evidence of the timeline or event that occurred that prevented you from completing coursework. Please note that documentation for COVID-19 related reasons is not required, however it is strongly recommended that you include any form of documentation you may have. Documentation related to COVID-19 could include doctor’s notes, screenshots of virtual appointments, letters from employer or other documentation citing cut or increase in work, explanation of stress and/or mental health impacts, specific difficulties with the virtual learning environment or familial responsibilities cited above in the written statement.

Withdrawal Petition Form

Fill out my online form.