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Course Withdrawal

There are times when you may no longer be willing or able to attend a class and would like to drop or withdraw. On this page you will find:

If you would like to drop or withdraw from a CSU Fully Online course, please follow the instructions provided by the host campus. For additional details, please visit the CSU Fully Online page.

If you no longer plan to attend CSUSM, please notify us at Before you do, please keep in mind the following options:

  • Undergraduate students who have completed at least one semester of enrollment may take a semester off with no additional request or petition required - let us know at 
  • Undergraduate students who have completed at least one semester of enrollment may take a Leave of Absence if planning to be out of attendance for more than one consecutive semester - see the Leave of Absence page
  • Graduate students must be on a Leave of Absence to maintain continuous enrollment; see the Graduate Studies Policies page for instructions for submitting a leave of absence request

Types of Drops/Withdrawals

See the Enrollment Calendar for specific dates mentioned below, including census date, end of 80% of term, etc. Don't forget to the check the What to Consider section of this page before dropping or withdrawing from any classes.

  • Drop
    • Through the day before census
    • No reason or approval is required.
    • You may drop directly in MyCSUSM. 
    No W grade is assigned and the class is not listed on your transcript.
  • Mid-Session Withdrawal
    • Census day to the end of the 12th week (or 80% point) in the semester
    • Must be for serious and compelling reasons.
    • Approval from Dean or Dean's designee of the College of the student's major (or Dean of Graduate Studies for Graduate students) is required.
    • For undergraduate students, the Dean (or designee) shall grant approval, so long as a complete petition is provided. 
    A W grade is assigned.
  • Late Withdrawal
    • After the 12th week (or 80% point) in the semester/session
    • Cause of withdrawal is due to circumstances clearly beyond the student's control (accident or serious physical or mental illness, or serious personal or family problems).
    • Approval from Dean of Undergraduate Studies (Dean of Graduate Studies for Graduate students) is required.
    • A W grade is assigned.

    Note: late withdrawal petitions are accepted up to one year from the end of the term.

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.
  • Undergraduate students are limited to a total of 18 units of withdrawals (W grades) over their entire undergraduate career.

Serious and Compelling Reasons

All withdrawal petitions require a 'serious and compelling' reason. 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

Undergraduate students may use the Withdrawal Petition located in MyCSUSM under the Academic section of the Student Center. If you are not an undergraduate student or if you receive a message that states that the petition is not available, please email for a separate form.

You can find detailed instructions for submitting the petition in MyCSUSM the How to Submit section below.

Please review and complete each section of the petition, and be sure to upload your statement of withdrawal on the last page. 

  • How to Submit

     (1) Select the Withdrawal Petition in the Academic Section of the Student Centerwithdrawal dropdown

    (2) Select the eligible term for the enrollment you wish to petition to withdraw (note: the withdrawal petition is available to all undergraduate students from census date through one year after the end of the term)

    (3) Review the Withdrawal Petition Instructions. Check the box(es) if you are a member of any of the groups listed (check all that apply).

    (4) Select the courses from which you wish to petition for withdrawal.

    (5) Click the Withdraw from Selected Courses button. 

    select courses

    Note: you may receive a pop-up message, requesting you to enter a reason for the late petition next to each applicable course. Provide a brief description for the reason you are submitting the petition during the final 20% of the course in the Reason for Late Petition field. 

    late withdrawals

    (6) Click Next through each subsequent page, reading and acknowleding all messages presented.

    (7) Enter a brief reason for the Reason for Withdrawal and attach your Statement of Withdrawal, as well as any other applicable supporting documentation. 

    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. 

    attach withdrawal docs

  • How to Respond to Request for Additional Information

     You may be asked to provide additional information or clarification after your petition is received. If so, you will receive an email notification directing you to view messages in the petition. You can view them (and add your response and/or additional documentation) directly in the petition.

    (1) Select Withdrawal Petition in the drop down under the Academics section in the Student Center

    (2) Select your petition to view the status and messages.

     withdrawal messages

  • How to Review the Decision

    When a decision has been issued for your petition, you will receive an email notification. You may view the Course Decision Status by accessing your Withdrawal Petition.

    (1) Select Withdrawal Petition in the drop down under the Academics section in the Student Center

    (2) Select your petition to view the status and the course decision.

    course decision

    If approved, it may take 5-7 business days to process the grade change or add a W grade.