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Frequently Asked Questions

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)

  • What things should I consider if I’m deciding to change to CR / NC grades?

    Credit (CR) and No Credit (NC) grading options may help relieve some of the stress from the Spring 2020 semester by giving you more flexibility.  CR grades may help you maintain a high GPA, while NC grades may help you stay above thresholds for Academic Probation and Disqualification.  You may also use this GPA tool to calculate your potential GPA, if you were to select CR/NC for some classes (note: grades of CR/NC should not be added to the calculator since they do not affect GPA!).

    This can be a complicated decision, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    If you are in any of the following groups, we advise you to contact those groups before making this decision: 

    • Veterans or students receiving VA benefits: contact Veterans Services
    • International students: contact Office of Global Education
    • Student Athletes: contact Athletics
    • Students applying or intending to apply to graduate programs: Contact your Graduate Coordinator 


  • How do letter grades equate to CR or NC grades?

    • For undergraduate students
      • Credit (CR) grades are equivalent to these letter grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, and C 
      • No Credit (NC) grades are equivalent to these letter grades: C-, D+, D, D-, F 
    • For graduate students:
      • Credit (CR) grades are assigned to these letter grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-
      • No Credit (NC) grades are assigned to these letter grades: C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F 
  • Which classes allow a grade of CR/NC?

    • A grade of NC is permitted in any course
    • CR grades in undergraduate courses are permitted, except:
      • NURS courses (NURS 200, NURS 300, etc.)
      • Some upper-division courses in the major/minor​: see list by major on the Academic Programs website
    • CR grades are are permitted in some graduate courses; see list of courses by program on the Academic Programs website
  • How do I know if a grade of CR/NC will benefit me?

    • If you choose to apply for CR/NC and you have a grade below C (in an undergraduate course, for example), you will receive a grade of NC, which will not affect your GPA, but will not earn units; it is a trade-off between protecting the GPA vs earning the units
    • If you choose to apply for CR/NC for major coursework, and have a C or higher, you will earn CR and will ensure that a grade of B or C does not decrease your GPA.
    • It is important to remember that a C- is equivalent to NC – so, whether your grade is a C- or a D, you will not earn credit and need to retake the class/requirement
    • You may also review the previously recorded webinar “Understanding the Spring Policy Changes” 
  • I am applying or intend to apply to graduate school. What do I need to know about CR/NC?

    Certain graduate programs, particularly medical schools, require students to complete courses with letter grades.  Many programs are making exceptions for the Spring 2020 semester, but you will need to check with the program to which you are applying before making a decision.  Please remember that you cannot change back to a letter grade after selecting the CR/NC option for a course. 

  • If I am graduating and I want to request CR/NC grade, what is the deadline?

    • If you are graduating in Spring 2020, the deadline is May 29, 2020 
    • If you are graduating in Summer 2020, the deadline is August 14, 2020 
    • If you are graduating in Fall 2020, the deadline is December 31, 2020 
  • If I receive a grade of CR in a class this semester, may I repeat the course for a better grade?

    Yes. We are working on a process to ensure that this is possible. If you are considering this, please contact the Office of the Registrar at

  • Which grades will automatically be changed to NC at the end of the semester?

    • For undergraduate students
      • All grades of F will be changed to NC
      • Grades of D-, D, D+ in courses used to fulfill GE Area A1, A2, A3, B4 or major/minor requirements will be changed to NC
      • No changes will be made to C- grades automatically; students may request a grade of NC
      • No changes will be made to WU grades; students may not request a WU grade be changed to NC
    • For graduate students
      • All grades of D and F will be changed to NC
      • No changes will be made to C+, C, C- grades; students may request a grade of NC
      • No changes will be made to WU grades; students may not request a WU grade be changed to NC
  • What if the Registrar’s Office changed my grade to NC, and I would prefer the D or F grade on my transcript?

    You can request to change your NC grade back to D or F through the Office of the Registrar.  The deadline for this petition is December 31, 2020

  • What if I requested a grade of CR/NC and I decide I want the letter grade?

    If you request a grade of CR/NC prior to May 10, you can change back to the letter grade until May 10, after which you cannot normally change back to letter grades from CR/NC.  Once the grade has been recorded as CR/NC, there may not be record of the letter grade to convert back to. Please consult with your instructor if you have questions. 

  • How does a grade of CR or NC affect my financial aid?

    CR/NC grades do not affect your financial aid in Spring 2020. Here is why: financial aid eligibility is determined by Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which is a combination of your GPA and your unit completion rate (sometimes called “pace”).  CR grades earn units, and do not impact GPA, so they have no impact on Financial Aid. NC grades do not affect your GPA but do affect your pace, as they are units that you attempted but did not complete. However for the Spring 2020 semester, grades of NC will not be counted as attempted units, and therefore, will not affect your completion rate.

  • How does a grade of CR or NC affect my VA benefits?

    Your decision to elect a grade of CR/NC instead of a letter grade in spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not impact your VA benefits.  
  • How does a grade of CR/NC affect my NCAA eligibility as an athlete?

    Moving a letter grade to CR/NC may impact your athletic eligibility.  We strongly recommend you Schedule an Appointment with the Department of Athletics to discuss your particular situation. 

  • How does a grade of CR/NC affect my eligibility for the Dean's List?

    Student must complete a minimum of 12 units of graded CSUSM coursework (A, B, C, D, F) with at least a 3.50 grade point average in order to qualify for the Dean's List. This is not changing for the Spring 2020 semester. If you elect to take courses as CR/NC that results in you having fewer than 12 units of courses that assign letter grades, then you would not be eligible for the Dean's List.


  • Why would a student request a Withdrawal (W grade)?

    If you feel that you cannot reasonably complete a course, it may be appropriate to request a withdrawal.  Withdrawal allows you to drop the course without affecting your GPA; you will receive a W grade that appears on your transcript.  Withdrawals at this late point in the semester are usually difficult but the temporary changes for Spring 2020 allow the University to be more flexible.  You should still only request a withdrawal if your circumstances make it impossible to complete the requirements of a course. 
  • How do I request a W grade?

    To request a withdrawal for Spring 2020, submit a withdrawal petition, use the Spring 2020 Withdrawal Petition form.

  • Does a W grade affect my GPA?

    A grade of W is not calculated in your GPA. 
  • How does a withdrawal affect my financial aid?

    Financial aid eligibility is determined by Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which is a combination of your GPA and your unit completion rate (sometimes called “pace”).  W grades do not affect your GPA but do affect your pace, as they are units that you attempted but did not complete.  To keep up SAP, you need to have a 2.0 GPA and complete more than 2/3 of the units you attempt. 

  • How does a withdrawal affect my VA benefits?

    If a student withdraws from courses, CSUSM will submit the last day of attendance and the reason for withdrawal to the VA.  Then, the VA makes a determination on a case-by-case basis about the status of benefits and whether the student owes any money and whether any/all of the benefit will be reinstated. 
  • Is there a limit to the number of W grades I can receive?

    Students can withdraw from a maximum of 18 units. However, withdrawals for the Spring 2020 semester approved after February 17th will not count toward this limit.
  • Withdraw vs. receiving a NC grade: Which is better?

    Although neither a W or NC grade will affect your GPA, NC is technically a failing grade and will be interpreted as such by anyone looking at your transcript.  A W grade implies that you did not complete the course and did not earn a grade of any kind.  There may be further considerations if you are receiving VA benefits or are an athlete or international student; you should contact those offices if you are considering a withdrawal petition. 

Academic Probation & Disqualification

Course Repeats & Grade Forgiveness

Transcript Notation

Incomplete Grades

  • Am I able to request an Incomplete grade this semester?

    The policy and process for Incomplete grades is unchanged for Spring 2020, which means you can still request Incompletes from your instructors.  Please remember that an Incomplete grade requires you to work out with your instructor what you need to finish in order to complete the course. 
  • How does an Incomplete grade affect my GPA?

    Incomplete grades (“I”) are not calculated in your GPA and do not count as completed units.  I grades are changed to a letter grade when the instructor assigns one after the negotiated work is completed. After one calendar year, an I grade that has not been changed to a letter grade switches to an IC (Incomplete Charged), which is counted as an F grade. 

  • If I have been unable to finish the work for an I grade, can I still graduate?

    Yes, as long as the course to which the I grade is assigned is not required for graduation. However, the I grade will remain a part of the permanent record, and may not be changed at a later date.

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