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 an SF State and Cumulative GPA (grade point average) of 2.0 or higher are said to be in good academic standing.

Understanding Your Academic Standing

Besides being in good standing, there are three other academic standings that may apply to you. Learn about them below. 

Undergraduate students with an SF State and/or combined cumulative GPA below a 2.0 are placed on academic probation and receive an email notification from the University, encouraging them to meet with an academic advisor. 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 S20-275).

If it is a student’s first semester on academic probation, it is very important for the student to reach out to an advisor to plan for future success by accessing support and referrals to campus services. First-year freshmen and all undeclared students meet with their assigned advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center. All other students (continuing freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) should meet with an advisor in their college-based resource center.

In order to be learn about the GPA requirements needed to avoid academic disqualification, students on academic probation should refer to the information below on Subject to Disqualification and Disqualification. An academic advisor can assist students who have specific questions about the policy and what grades are needed to prevent academic disqualification.

Students often think they need to get straight As to get off of probation.  Sometimes this is the case, but often it isn't.  Use the grade point deficit calculator to identify the exact combination of grades you need to clear probation.  

Students who do not get back in good standing, but are allowed to continue at SF State, are continued on Subject to Disqualification standing. These students will receive an email from the University, notifying them about being placed on Subject to Disqualification standing. Early in the next semester, a registration hold will be placed for the following semester and students must meet with an academic advisor in order to clear the hold. Academic advisors will explain the academic probation process, offer guidance about course registration, help students create a plan for success, and provide referrals to a variety of campus support services. Refer to the Clearing Academic Probation Holds section below for details on the academic probation process and referrals to appropriate advising resources.

Undergraduate students who are on academic probation can enroll in a maximum of 13 units per semester while their GPA is below a 2.0 (Academic Senate Policy S20-275). On rare occasions, individual exceptions to this unit limit may be granted with appropriate approval. The petition for this exception with instructions can be found on the Registrar’s website. Please note, petitions for exceptions for undeclared students and first-year freshmen should be submitted to the student’s assigned advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center.

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.

*Students on academic probation with fewer than 30 units are permitted a semester on subject to disqualification status even if their term GPA is not a 2.0 and they fall below the disqualification threshold.

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 on subject to disqualification status.

All undergraduate students on academic 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 allowed an additional semester at SF State on subject to disqualification status. These students must also adhere to the academic probation hold clearance procedures listed in the next section and the 13-unit limit.

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 all transfer coursework and transfer credit, including Advanced Placement credit.

Students who are academically disqualified should schedule an appointment with an advisor in the college based resource center that corresponds with their desired major (see below for options) or in the Undergraduate Advising Center (for undeclared students) to discuss possible steps they could take to return to SF State. Typically, 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. In order to raise the SF State GPA to a 2.0, 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 (reinstatement form) 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. Some students may be eligible to return under a Special Consideration appeal. Please see the Special Consideration information in the last section of this page information for specific requirements.

Clearing Academic Probation Holds

Academic probation holds are explained below, including details on how to remove them. 

Students who remain on academic probation beyond one semester will have a probation hold placed on their records that will prevent their future registration. This hold requires students seek academic advising so they can improve their grades for the next semester.  They will receive an email from the University, notifying them about their academic probation status and letting them know that they must meet with an academic advisor in order to clear their hold. It is important that students check their SF State email regularly, as they will receive messages from the University which contain additional details about how to clear their hold and important deadlines to meet so that the probation hold does not impact their ability to register for the next semester.

Starting in Fall 2020, a change in academic probation policy has streamlined the probation process, eliminating the need for students to fill out probation hold clearance forms and reducing the number of approvals needed to clear a probation hold. Students now only need to meet with one advisor in order to clear their hold and no paperwork is required. Please see the information in the sections below for referrals to the appropriate academic advisor.

If it is a student’s first semester on academic probation, they will not have a registration hold, but are strongly encouraged to meet with an academic advisor. First year freshmen and undeclared students should work with the Undergraduate Advising Center.  All second year students and declared majors should work with an advisor in their college based resource center. 

Undeclared Students and Students Changing Majors

If a student is undeclared or planning to change their major to a major outside of their current college, they must meet with an academic advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC) to discuss their probation status and have their hold removed. If a student is currently undeclared, they should meet with their assigned advisor in the UAC. If a student would like to change to undeclared or is interested in pursuing a major outside of their current college, they will need to meet with an advisor during one of the UAC’s drop-in advising times. For more information on how to make an appointment with their assigned advisor and how to access UAC drop-in hours, please refer to the Undergraduate Advising Center’s website.

If a student is planning on changing their major, but they are pursuing a major within their current college, then they should see an advisor in their college-based resource center for help with the probation process and clearing the hold. Please refer to the information below for the appropriate resource that corresponds with the student’s major.

Declared Major and Pre-Majors

If a student is a continuing freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior with a declared major, they should work with an advisor in their college-based resource center in order to clear their probation hold. If a student is unsure of their college affiliation, they can find the Academic College Resource Centers and the majors that are affiliated on the Academic Advising Directory.  The email notification from the University will also detail where the student should go to access academic advising.

Once a student knows which college their major is affiliated with, they can refer to the list below and go to the website for their college-based resource center to see how to make an appointment with an advisor.

Repeating Courses

Here are some of the most important facts about how repeating courses and grade forgiveness works and some questions to ask yourself while you considering whether or not to repeat a course.

Repeats

An undergraduate student who has received a grade of C or better, or a grade of CR, may not repeat a course unless the course is described in the Bulletin as repeatable for credit. An undergraduate student who has received a grade in a course that is lower than C, including AU, IC, RD, RP, W, and WU, may repeat that course only once more.

Grade Forgiveness

Beginning Fall 2017, undergraduate students may repeat a maximum of 16 units of coursework taken at San Francisco State University where the lower of the two grades is “forgiven” from the GPA calculation. After the repeat limit of 16 units has been reached, all units attempted and all grade points earned will be included in the student's cumulative totals. The course being repeated must be from the exact same department and with the course number as the original course. 

*Grade forgiveness is applied automatically at the end of each term. It does not apply retroactively to courses where repeats were completed prior to Fall 2017. Grade forgiveness also does not change the end of term academic standing from previous semesters. 

You can use the GPA calculator to calculate your GPA with a repeat of a course.  If you currently have a grade point deficit, you can also use the grade point deficit calculator to estimate the impact of a repeated course. 

There are many things that students should consider when repeating a course. Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself before deciding.

  • Do you need to take the course? 
  • Can another course meet the requirement?
  • How much better do you think you can do in the course?
  • How much did you enjoy or dislike the course?
  • How much can the repeat affect your GPA?
  • How many repeats have you already used?
  • Will you get grade forgiveness for this course?
  • How much will it financially cost you to repeat a course?
  • How much time and energy will it take to repeat the course?

If you are a first-year freshman or an undeclared student, an academic counselor in the Undergraduate Advising Center can assist you with your questions. If you are a continuing freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, you can get assistance from your college based resource center. 

Special Consideration

Special Consideration is an option for some students to return to SF State without a 2.0 SF State and/or Cumulative GPA.  Learn more below. 

Students who have not been in regular attendance at SF State for more than one semester, including students who were on academic probation, on subject to disqualification, or were academically disqualified from the university, are expected to reapply to SF State and have a 2.0 or higher SF State and all college GPA to be re-admitted to SF State. Students who do not meet the 2.0 minimum GPA requirements may be granted an exception to the GPA requirement through special consideration if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Have a grade point deficit of -12 or less (Use the Grade Point Deficit Calculator calculations if needed)
  2. Completed 6 or more transferable units since last regular enrollment at SF State (may be through the College of Extended Learning or another accredited 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 special consideration should start exploring this option with an academic advisor. Undeclared students can meet with an advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center and students with declared majors should meet with an advisor in their college based resource center. 

Students who meet the special consideration requirements and are ready to start this petition process, can schedule an appointment with Undergraduate Advising Center Assistant Director Herman Lee. Note that students who are not in regular enrollment at SF State for more than one semester need to also apply for admission to SF State by the appropriate deadline.