Course Repeat Policy (Current)

Reference Number: S21-248
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Presidential Approval Date: 
Friday, May 7, 2021

Policy #:                        S21-248

Supersedes:                F16-248 Senate Approval:                                       04/20/2021 Presidential Approval: 05/07/2021 Effective:  Fall 2021

Last Review:               Fall 2016

Next Review:              Spring 2025


Course Repeat Policy



The SFSU course repeat policy was developed in response to Executive Order 1037: Grading Symbols, Minimum Standards Governing the Assignment of Grades, Policies on the Repetition of Courses, Policies on Academic Renewal, and Grade Appeals. At the time the Academic Senate declined to authorize grade forgiveness, in which a new grade replaces the former grade in terms of calculation of the GPA. This policy addresses this omission. In addition, the original policy, developed before the implementation of Campus Solutions (CS), counted AU and W grades in the repeat count. As CS is not capable of counting AU and W grades for the purposes of course repeat counts, the Academic Policies Committee is recommending their removal from the policy.


Key Words: Course repeat, grade forgiveness Author/Source: Academic Policies Committee Responsible UnitRegistrar’s Office










•       Edited with text from EO 1037 and for clarity. Portions reorganized for better clarity. Section on Grade Forgiveness for

Courses Repeated Prior to 2017 removed from S87-148 Academic Renewal Policy and inserted here.





•       Added grade forgiveness

•       Removed AU and W as counting towards course repeats

•       Removed gender pronouns



•       Added Graduate student conditions to item 6



•       Limits only for matriculated status added








Table of Contents (List policy headings, as defined below)


I.               Definition of Repeat

II.             Cumulative Limit on Course Repeats

III.            Course Repeats with Grade Forgiveness

IV.           Course Repeats with Grade Averaging

V.             Individual Course Repeat Limits and Restrictions

VI.           Repetition of Withdrawals and Audits

VII.         Repeating After Attaining a Degree

VIII.        Matriculation Requirement

IX.           Requests for Exceptions

X.             Implementation






Definition of “Repeat”


In this policy, “repeat” means to enroll in a course for which a grade has already been assigned. “Grade” refers to all grading symbols defined in CSU Executive Order 1037 (effective August 1, 2009). These include administrative grading symbols (AU, I, IC, RD, RP, W, and WU), traditional grades (A, B, C, D, and F, and their plus and minus designations), and non-traditional grades (CR and NC).


Cumulative Limit on Course Repeats


An undergraduate student may repeat a maximum of 28 units of coursework taken at San Francisco State University. Sixteen of these units are eligible for course repeats with grade forgiveness. The additional twelve units of course repeats shall have grade averaging applied. After the 28-unit limit is reached, a student cannot repeat any additional courses unless the course is described in the current SF State Bulletin as repeatable for credit. Repeat enrollments in courses described in the bulletin as repeatable for credit shall not count toward the total repeat limits.


Course Repeats with Grade Forgiveness


Undergraduate students may repeat a maximum of 16 units of coursework taken at San Francisco State University (including courses taken through the College of Extended Learning) for the purpose of excluding the original grade from grade point determination (i.e. grade forgiveness). When a course is repeated, up to the 16-unit limit, the lower of the two grades is “forgiven” from the GPA calculation. Grade forgiveness shall not be applicable to courses for which the original grade was the result of a finding of academic dishonesty.





•       If the same grade is earned for both attempts of a course, the first attempt is forgiven.

•       Grade forgiveness shall not allow students to use NC grades to forgive letter grades.

•       However, CR grades can be used to forgive grades of C- and below. For the purpose of forgiveness, a CR grade is equal to a C-, and IC and WU grades are treated like F grades. W grades do not impact the GPA and are not eligible for forgiveness.


Grade Forgiveness for Courses Repeated Prior to 2017


This section applies to repeated coursework taken prior to Fall 2017.


This provision is applicable only if it enables the student to meet the 2.0 minimum grade point average required for graduation. The Registrar’s Office can apply this special provision to a student’s record at the point of graduation if it appears that the student may be denied graduation due to their GPA being below a 2.0. Advisor and student requests can be directed to the Registrar's Office. The following conditions apply:


1.  This type of grade forgiveness is only applied to repeated coursework where in the prior attempt the students earned a grade of C-, D, F or WU. Grades for both the previous and repeated attempts are recorded on the transcript.


2.  This special provision of academic renewal can only be applied to 16 units maximum of repeated coursework. This 16-unit maximum is a total for all grade forgiveness applied via both the Course Repeat Policy, F16-248 (for coursework repeated fall 2017 and beyond) and via individual course Academic Renewal (for coursework repeated prior to fall 2017).


3.  If a student secures permission to attempt a course beyond two times, and they have not yet reached the 16-unit maximum, then the grade points for the prior attempts can be excluded for graduation purposes (up to 16 units).


4.  Students transferring from other institutions where courses were taken and repeated are held to the policy of the institution where the course was repeated.


Course Repeats with Grade Averaging


San Francisco State allows undergraduate students to repeat an additional 12 units beyond the 16 units for which grade forgiveness is applied. In these instances, the repeat grade does not replace the original grade. Instead, all units attempted and all grade points are included in the student's cumulative totals (i.e., grade averaging). However, if a student chooses to repeat a course in which the grade was passing (D- or higher), the units attempted and the grade points earned will be used in the calculation of the student's grade point average (GPA), but the units earned will be applied to the calculation of cumulative units earned only once.





Individual Course Repeat Limits and Restrictions


There are limitations and restrictions on individual course repeats that include:


a.     An undergraduate student who has received a grade of C or higher, or a grade of CR, may not repeat that course unless the course is described in the current SF State Bulletin as repeatable for credit.

b.     An undergraduate student receiving a grade of C- or below may repeat that course only once more, unless the course is described in the current SF State Bulletin as repeatable for credit (AU and W grades do not count towards this limit).

c.     A graduate student who has received a grade of B or higher, or a grade of CR, may not repeat that course unless the course is described in the current SF State Bulletin as repeatable for credit.

d.     A graduate student receiving a grade of B- or below may repeat that course only once more, unless the course is described in the current SF State Bulletin as repeatable for credit (AU and W grades do not count towards this limit).

e.     A student cannot repeat a course for which an administrative grade of “I”, RD, or RP was issued until the “I”, RD, or RP is converted to a grade. This restriction does not apply to enrollment in a variable-topic course if the repeat will be for a differenttopic.

f.      Unless otherwise stated in the course descriptions in the current SF State Bulletin, additional units of credit may not be earned for courses that are repeated. This restriction also applies to transfer coursework repeated at SF State. If a class is a course-to-course equivalent with an SF State course, and the SF State course is not deemed repeatable in the Bulletin, then additional units cannot be earned.


Repetition of Withdrawals and Audits


Courses repeated as the result of a student withdrawing from a full semester of coursework or after receiving a grade of AU or W in an individual course, shall not count at all toward either the individual-course repeat limit or the 28-unit cumulative limit on course repeats. Academic Senate Policy S20-196 Withdrawal from Courses specifies limits on withdrawals.


Repeating After Attaining a Degree


Once a bachelor's degree has been granted, repeating courses for any reason (e.g., as a visitor, post-baccalaureate, or College of Extended Learning student) will not affect the GPA or content of the degree already granted.


Matriculation Requirement





Starting in Fall 2008, grades assigned at San Francisco State University through matriculated enrollment and through the College of Extended Learning shall be used to determine repeat enrollment eligibility.


Requests for Exceptions


Requests for exceptions to repeat a course for a third time or more shall require the consent of the instructor and department chair for the department in which the course is offered. If a student is approved to take a course for a 3rd time or more, that exception also permits grade forgiveness to be applied to the course if the student has not yet reached the 16-unit maximum on grade forgiveness. Requests to exceed repeat unit and grade forgiveness limits and other grade forgiveness and repeat-related exceptions shall be filed with the Registrar’s Office and are reviewed and decided upon by the Board of Appeals and Review as described in Academic Senate Policy F20-121, “Board of Appeals and Review Policy.” Given that this committee is largely comprised of faculty, in the summer months, a subset of BOAR will review requests. Students whose disability or military reserve status might necessitate more repeat enrollments are encouraged to request suchexceptions.


Grade forgiveness shall be applied for all currently enrolled students to coursework repeated in Fall 2017 and future semesters.

Signed Memo: