Academic Probation: Understanding Probation and Disqualification

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

At the end of the fall and spring semesters, the Registrar’s Office runs a process to determine each student’s academic standing. 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).

First Semester on Academic Probation

If it is a student’s first semester on academic probation, no registration hold will be placed on their record, and they will not be blocked from future registration. It is still 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 undeclared students should meet with their assigned advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center. All other students (continuing freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) with declared majors should meet with an advisor in their college-based resource center. In order to be aware of the GPA requirements needed to avoid academic disqualification, students on 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 Continuing on Academic Probation

Students who remain on academic probation beyond one semester will receive an email from the University, notifying them about their continued academic probation status and letting them know that they must meet with an academic advisor in order to clear their registration hold for the following semester. Academic advisors can explain the 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 a Probation Hold information for details on the academic probation process and referrals to appropriate advising resources.

Maximum Number of Units for Undergraduate Students on Academic Probation

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.

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 an 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. These students must also adhere to the academic probation hold clearance procedures 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.

Returning After Disqualification

Students who are academically disqualified should schedule an appointment with an advisor in the college-based resource center that corresponds with their desired major 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 for specific requirements.