Academic Probation

Grades are used to determine academic standing.  Academic Standing status is determined at the completion of the fall and spring semesters.  Undergraduate students with a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) or higher are said to be in good academic standing.

Academic Probation

Undergraduate students with a SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 are not in good academic standing and will be placed on academic probation (Academic Senate Policy S17-275). 

At the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, students on academic probation will have an academic probation hold placed on their record preventing registration for the following semester.  These students will also receive an email from the Registrar’s Office notifying them that they are on academic probation and that they must complete the hold clearance process to allow registration for the following semester.  Students who are undeclared should work with the Undergraduate Advising Center or the Educational Opportunity Program (if participating in that program) to complete the hold clearance process.  Students who have declared a major should visit their major department or their College Resource Center to complete this process.

Undergraduate students who are on academic probation are able to enroll in a maximum of 13 units per semester while their GPA is below a 2.0 (Academic Senate Policy F02-223).

Subject to Disqualification and Disqualification

Undergraduate students on academic probation or subject to disqualification are academically disqualified before the start of the subsequent fall or spring semester if their term GPA is less than a 2.0 and their SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA fall below the thresholds listed below:

  • As a freshman (fewer than 30 units completed), their SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA is below 1.50.*
  • As a sophomore (30-59 units completed), their SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA is below 1.70.
  • As a junior (60-89 units completed), their SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA is below 1.85.
  • As a senior (90 or more units completed), their SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA is below 1.95.

*Freshmen (with fewer than 30 units) will be placed on subject to disqualification status and are allowed an additional (third) semester at SF State before a term GPA less than 2.0 and a SF State or combined cumulative GPA of below 1.50 will result in academic disqualification.

Regardless of the term GPA, all undergraduate students whose SF State and combined cumulative GPAs stay above the thresholds listed above will also be allowed to continue at SF State and will remain in a subject to disqualification status.

All undergraduate students on probation who earn a term GPA of 2.0 or higher or stay above the thresholds listed above will not be disqualified.  Instead, they will be placed on subject to disqualification status and allowed an additional semester at SF State.  They must also adhere to the same academic probation hold clearance procedures and unit limit policies as stated above.

For the purposes of academic probation and disqualification, class standing is determined by a student’s total units earned as reflected on the SF State transcript.  This total includes transfer coursework and Advanced Placement credit.

Students who have been academically disqualified from San Francisco State University must raise their SF State and all college GPAs to a 2.0 or higher in order to be reinstated or readmitted to SF State.  To eliminate an academic deficiency (GPA below 2.0) at SF State, students must complete coursework in Open University through the College of Extended Learning.  To raise the all college GPA, coursework may be completed at any accredited college.  Students who raise their GPA(s) to a 2.0 or higher within one year may apply to be reinstated to SF State through the Registrar’s Office.  Students who require more than two semesters to raise their GPA(s) to 2.0 or higher must apply for admission to the University.

How To Remove Your Academic Probation Hold

In order to remove your academic probation hold, you must have an approved Academic Probation Hold Clearance Form (see above).  Please check your SF State email for an email from the Registrar’s Office which contains additional details.  In short, you will electronically fill out the first half of the form and then meet with an advisor(s) and/or department chair for advising and approvals.

Undeclared and/or Changing Majors

If you are undeclared* and/or planning on changing your major, you must attend an Advising Center Powering-up Academic Success Strategies workshop to complete academic probation clearance form to remove your hold.   

*If you are in EOP, you should meet with your EOP advisor in lieu of our workshop.  Please go to the EOP Front Office at SSB 201 or call 415-388-1085 to schedule an appointment with an EOP advisor.

Declared Major or Pre-Major

If you have a declared major, you should be working with either a faculty advisor or your college resource center.  You can identify your college resource center by major on our list of majors.

College of Business: Students should visit the College of Business Student Success Center in BUS 112 with the exception of Economics majors who should visit their faculty advisor for the major.

College of Ethnic Students: Students should visit an advisor in the Student Engagement Center in EP 117. 

College of Health and Social Sciences: Pre-majors in the College of Health and Social Sciences should visit the College of Health and Social Sciences Student Resource Center in HSS 254.   Declared students should visit with their faculty advisors and then the College of Health and Social Sciences Student Resource Center in HSS 254.

College of Liberal & Creative Arts: All declared and pre-major students should visit the College of Liberal & Creative Arts Advising Resource Center in HUM 112. 

College of Science & Engineering: All declared and pre-major students should visit their faculty advisors for their majors.

Graduate College of Education: Communicative Disorder majors should visit the CD department in Burk Hall 114 or call the CD program office at 415-338-1001 to schedule an appointment.

Students’ Perspectives in the Academic Probation Process

Click on a name below to find stories from students who have experienced the academic probation process in the past and they reflect common experiences many students report.  We are sharing them as part of our efforts to help students navigate the academic probation process more effectively.

When I failed an important math class, I was devastated. If anything, getting the probation notice made me feel worse. Eventually, I got up the courage to talk to a professor. I went to her office hours, and my story just spilled out. I was worried what she would think. But she surprised me. She told me, ‘You probably wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve had a conversation like this. Every time a person walks in thinking they are the only one, but really, more students struggle than you think.’ I saw that there’s no shame in struggling academically—lots of people do. It’s all about how you respond. When I got the letter I was really down. But I learned something important in the process, about how to face up to challenges, to ask others for help, and find a way forward. That was some time ago, and I can see now that the process was productive for me and helped me grow as a person and as a student.

During the start of my undergraduate career, I was put on probation and struggled to maintain good grades while taking general education courses. This caused me to question my ability on whether or not I would be able to do well once I would start taking my Biology major courses. Despite my insecurities that were overflowing at the time, I couldn't help but think that what I was feeling was temporary and that I had the ability to change my situation. As time went on, I was able to do a lot better in my science courses than in any GE courses (though I can’t seem to understand why). Some of those same insecurities occasionally resurface. I simply look back on how far I've come as a way to motivate myself. I constantly remind myself of that freshmen girl with a 1.56 GPA who just so happened to be myself, as a way to pick myself up and as a reminder to keep going.

I was very busy one semester keeping up with class, work, and family responsibilities. My grades tanked. Still, the probation letter was a shock. I hadn’t thought much about the probation policy before, so I didn’t realize I had let my grades get so out of hand. I was ashamed and embarrassed at first. How did I let this happen? After talking with someone at the UAC, I felt a little better. Eventually, I saw that probation is SF State’s way of making sure that everyone is doing okay. I can understand that, and I’m glad this process is there for students when we need it. This experience increased my awareness of policies and expectations, but it also connected me with the CARP and with mentors who helped me figure out how to manage my schedule. Graduation is around the corner, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished at SF State.

Probation helped me realize I was in the wrong major. I started college thinking that I wanted to major in business, but when I actually took some classes I figured out that I didn’t want to go down that path. Still, I didn’t know what else to do. Without a clear academic direction, it was hard to focus in class and I wasn’t very motivated. My grades got pretty bad. When I went on probation, I felt really upset with myself and discouraged. I felt stuck. It seemed like it was too late to switch majors. One of the good things about probation was that it led me to reach out to advisors who helped me see that it actually wasn’t too late. They helped me find a new major, and now my grades have started getting better. It’s been much easier to stay focused because I have a sense of academic direction.

Academic Probation Hold Clearance Form

In order to remove your academic probation hold, you must have an approved Academic Probation Hold Clearance Form (pdf)

Special Consideration

Students who have not been in attendance at SF State for more than one semester, including students who were on academic probation or were academically disqualified from the university, are expected to have a 2.0 or higher SF State and all college GPA to be re-admitted to SF State.  When not matriculated, a former student must enroll in courses through the College of Extended Learning to raise the SF State GPA.  Students who do not meet the 2.0 minimum GPA requirements may qualify to return through special consideration if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Have a grade point deficit or -12 or less (see the Calculator section below to determine this)
  2. Completed 6 or more transferable units since last regular enrollment at SF State (may be through the College of Extended Learning or another institution)
    • Earned a 2.5 GPA or above through these courses
    • Not received a grade of C- or below since their last regular enrollment at SF State
  3. Demonstrated they have sufficiently addressed the previous challenges that impacted their academic success and their plan for future success

Students interested in this option should speak to an advisor at the Undergraduate Advising Center.

Calculators

Use these calculators to assist you on your path towards good academic progress.

Grade Point Deficit Calculator: identify grades you need to earn to reach a 2.0 GPA.

GPA Calculator: estimate your future GPA.