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Academic Policies

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Academic Policies

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Academic Policies for Class Enrollment

This page explains academic policies pertaining to enrollment in classes. If you don’t find the topic you want, check the Resources at left.

Academic Load Regulations

The maximum number of units in which undergraduate and graduate students may enroll during the Registration-by-Appointment period is 13 units.

During Nonrestrictive Registration, students in good academic standing may enroll in additional units through the SOLAR Student Center, to a maximum of 16 units.

After classes begin for the semester (during the Late Registration/Schedule Adjustment period), the maximum load remains 16 units. Permission numbers are required to add classes.

See below for unit-limit exceptions.

Note: Unit limits may vary from semester to semester. 

Spring 2014 Unit Limits and Dates

Registration Periods Dates Unit Limit
Registration-by-Appointment From your registration appointment through
December 10, 2013
13 units
Nonrestrictive Registration December 11, 2013 through January 20, 2014 16 units
Late Registration / Schedule Adjustment (online self-service) January 21 through February 7, 2014 16 units
For additional dates, see the Registration Calendar.


Fall 2014 Unit Limits and Dates

Registration Periods Dates Unit Limit
Registration-by-Appointment From your registration appointment through July 13, 2014 13 units
Nonrestrictive Registration July 14 through August 24, 2014 16 units
Late Registration / Schedule Adjustment (online self-service) August 25 through September 12, 2014 16 units
For additional dates, see the Registration Calendar.

Unit-Limit Exceptions:

Students needing to enroll in additional units after the Registration-by-Appointment period must complete and file an Extra Unit Authorization form with Admissions and Records. See Extra Unit Authorization.

Extra Unit Authorization

Approval of extra units for students not listed among the exceptions above is strictly limited at this time. Choose units wisely. Use the Degree Planning Guide or STAR Act Planning Guide (for AA-T and AS-T students only) for your major together with My Academic Planner (MAP) or My Plan to Graduate (MPG) to set priorities. Contact your academic advisor for assistance.

Students needing to exceed the maximum number of units should:

  1. Print the Extra Unit Authorization form from the Student Forms page, or obtain the form from Admissions and Records, Student Services Center, Bayramian Hall Lobby (BH 100).
  2. Complete the form and obtain all required signatures.
  3. Return the completed form to Admissions and Records before the end of Late Registration, which is the third Friday of instruction in the fall and spring semesters (office closes Fridays at 4:00 pm).

For Spring 2014, file your Extra Unit Authorization form before February 7, 2014.

For Fall 2014, file your Extra Unit Authorization form before September 12, 2014.

Academic Probation and Disqualification

Undergraduate Students

Academic Probation: Undergraduate students are placed on Probation if either their cumulative total GPA or CSUN GPA falls below 2.00 at the conclusion of any term. Students remain on Probation until they either regain Good Standing or they are placed on Disqualified Status.

New!  Starting Fall 2014, there is no probationary period for students working toward a second bachelor's degree. Please see "Second Baccalaureate Disqualification" on this page.

All students on Probation receive a registration hold and are not able to register for classes until they have met with an academic advisor each semester they are on probation. Declared majors will receive advisement from either their academic department or from the SSC/EOP Satellite in their College. Undecided students will receive advisement in the Advising Resource Center/EOP.

Undergraduate students on probation can enroll in a maximum of 13 units in a given semester or during summer term. For more information, see Academic Load Regulations on this page.

Disqualified Status: Undergraduate students who were on Probation the previous semester are placed on Disqualified Status if, at the end of the next semester, either their cumulative total GPA or CSUN GPA falls below the GPA listed for each class level in the table below:

Class Level* GPA
Freshman (1 – 29 units earned) 1.50
Sophomore (30 – 59 units earned) 1.70
Junior (60 – 89 units earned) 1.85
Senior (90 + units earned) 1.95
*Units of developmental coursework are included in determining class level.

Any student whose cumulative GPA falls below 1.00 will be disqualified immediately without first being placed on probation. This policy will not apply to first-time freshmen whose cumulative GPA falls below 1.0 in their first semester only. Thereafter, students are subject to this policy.

With the conclusion of the Spring 2009 and subsequent semesters, students who are disqualified for the first time no longer will be allowed to enroll at CSUN for one additional “grace or renewal” semester. Students disqualified for the first time will be treated in an identical manner to students disqualified for a second time.

Students in Disqualified Status are not eligible to enroll in the University through the regular enrollment process. They can enroll in CSUN courses only through Open University in the Tseng College. Only 24 units of course credit earned through the Tseng College can be counted toward a CSUN undergraduate degree.

Before students in Disqualified Status can be readmitted under an Academic Performance Agreement, they must demonstrate acquired skills or achievements that support a successful return to the University. When all requirements have been met, the student may apply to the University for readmission. For more information, see the University Catalog policies on Academic Standing and Categories of Disqualification.

Readmission of Previously Disqualified Undergraduate Students: Students in Disqualified Status seeking readmission must submit:

  1. a formal application for readmission through CSU Mentor,
  2. official transcripts of course(s) completed at another college or university during the period in which the student has been in Disqualified Status, and
  3. a Previously Disqualified Student Questionnaire. Be sure to file the questionnaire no later than the due date published on the form.
To be readmitted, previously disqualified students must file the required documents in the Office of Admissions and Records by the published deadline before campus review can begin. View admission deadlines.

Readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement: Students who have been academically disqualified, but who are readmitted to the University under terms of a special type of probation, are classified as Readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement (APA). Students who are Readmitted under an APA receive a registration hold and are not able to register for classes until they have received advisement. Declared majors typically receive advisement from the SSC/EOP Satellite in their College. Undecided students receive advisement in the Advising Resource Center/EOP.

Students who are Readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement can enroll in a maximum of 13 units in a semester or summer term. For more information, see Academic Load Regulations on this page.

Students who are Readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement, but who fail to maintain continuous enrollment in classes each fall and spring semester, revert back to Disqualified Status. They must reapply and be readmitted to the University as a previously disqualified student in order to be eligible to enroll in classes through the regular enrollment process.

Academic disqualification is a permanent notation in a student's academic record and has serious consequences that can impact attainment of a baccalaureate degree. The consequences of academic disqualification depend on whether it is the first, second or third disqualification that the student receives.

For more information, see Categories of Disqualification and Academic Reinstatement to the University after Third Disqualification in the University Catalog.

Second Baccalaureate Disqualification

Beginning Fall 2014, second baccalaureate students will be placed in disqualified status if, at the end of the semester, either their cumulative total GPA or CSUN GPA falls below 2.0. There is no probation before disqualification.

First Disqualification: Students who are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree and who receive a first disqualification will not be eligible to enroll at CSUN through the regular enrollment process for at least one semester. They will need to apply for readmission as a previously disqualified student by posted deadlines. Disqualified second baccalaureate students can enroll in Open University through CSUN’s Tseng College for up to nine (9) units in all terms, sessions and semesters, or can take transferable courses at other institutions. In order to gain readmission, students will be expected to demonstrate ability to succeed in university-level classes in the second baccalaureate field. For admission deadlines, see the Admission Calendar.

Second Disqualification: Second baccalaureate students who receive a second disqualification are not eligible to seek readmission to the University for a minimum of 5 years after the final day of the semester during which they received the second disqualification. Second baccalaureate students who have been disqualified two times may not retake classes or finish an Incomplete contract for the purpose of raising grades to avoid a second disqualification.

Read more at Second Baccalaureate Disqualification.

Graduate Students

Students enrolled in a degree program will be placed on academic probation whenever their grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 in all units attempted. To be removed from probation, students must earn sufficient grade points in the following semester of enrollment to raise their GPA to 3.0 or above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

If a disqualified graduate student wishes to be considered for reinstatement to a Master’s program, s/he must submit disqualification forms for the semester immediately following disqualification notification. Disqualification materials are e-mailed to students after final grades are posted. The materials are submitted through the departmental Graduate Coordinator. Students who choose not to file reinstatement forms for the semester following disqualification will be required to submit both the disqualification materials and a new University application and fee in order to enroll in any future semester.

Similar provisions to those stated above apply to Post-baccalaureate Credential students, except that the required maintenance GPA is 2.75. For more information see Graduate Studies Policies.

Academic Standing

Academic standing determines a student's eligibility to enroll in the University through the regular enrollment process. Academic standing is defined by the student's Grade Point Average (GPA).

GPA is calculated by dividing the number of grade points earned in courses that assign letter grades (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, IC, WU) by the number of units attempted. (Courses in which grades of CR, NC, I, RP, and W are assigned are not used in GPA calculation.)

Cumulative Total GPA includes coursework transferred from other institutions as well as coursework taken at CSUN. The CSUN GPA only includes coursework taken at CSUN.

Enrollment Eligibility: Students in good academic standing are eligible to enroll in the University when they maintain the following minimum GPA in both CSUN coursework and cumulative total GPA for their class level:

Class Level GPA
Undergraduate & second bachelor's degree students 2.0
Post-baccalaureate students 2.5
Credential students 2.75
Joint master/credential students* 3.0
Graduate students in master's degree programs 3.0
*If you are enrolled as both a master and credential student and your GPA falls below 3.0, you may continue in the credential program provided that you maintain a 2.75 GPA.

Students on probation are also eligible to enroll in the University through the regular enrollment process. Students who are disqualified or under disciplinary suspension are not considered in good standing and therefore are not routinely eligible to enroll. They may enroll in CSUN courses only through Open University in the Tseng College.

For more information, see the Academic Load Regulations and Academic Probation and Disqualification topics on this page, the current University Catalog topics on Academic Standing and Categories of Disqualification, and Graduate Studies Policies.

Credit by Challenge Examination

Currently enrolled undergraduate students not on probation who are especially qualified through experience or private instruction may enroll to earn credit by Challenge Examination in selected courses designated by each department. Check with the academic department for details on the availability of Credit by Challenge Examination.

Credit/No-Credit Grading Policy

Undergraduate students who are not on probation may elect the Credit/No-Credit (CR/NC) option for one or more courses each term, up to a maximum of 18 units applicable to the bachelor’s degree. The CR or NC grade will not be considered in the computation of the student’s grade point average. Students may not change from the CR/NC basis to the graded (or conversely from graded to CR/NC) option after the third week of classes.

Courses taken on a CR/NC basis CANNOT be applied toward the satisfaction of ANY of the following degree requirements:

  1. General Education and Title 5 requirements.
  2. The Major, except those courses offered on a CR/NC basis only. (Note: Additional courses in the discipline of the major beyond those used to satisfy major requirements may not be taken for CR/NC.)
  3. The Minor, except those courses offered on a CR/NC basis only, subject to departmental approval.

If 18 or more semester CR graded units are accepted on transfer from other institutions, no additional CR graded CSUN courses may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Learn more in the University Catalog article Credit/No Credit Grading.

NOTE: Undergraduate students who plan to transfer to another institution or to enter a graduate or professional school should check with that institution for information concerning acceptance of credit for CR graded courses. As a general rule, graduate and professional schools are likely to consider a grade of Credit as equivalent to a grade of C and a grade of No Credit as a Fail.

Enrollment Discrepancies

Students are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their own academic programs. Immediately bring any enrollment discrepancies in person to the Office of Admissions and Records for correction. Failure to correct an academic program discrepancy or to drop a class officially may result in a grade of WU (Unauthorized Withdrawal) in courses never attended.

Excessive Enrollment

If an undergraduate student repeats enrollment in a course beyond its published maximum “for-credit” limitations (see current university catalog), units earned will not be counted toward the baccalaureate degree. The units attempted and any grade points, however, will be averaged with the student’s other grades. Check with an advisor before re-enrolling in a course. On the third or subsequent enrollment in a course, it is necessary to obtain permission of the associate dean of the college in which the course is offered.

Grade Availability

Grades are available online starting the week after the final exam period. Log into myNorthridge at www.csun.edu. Then from the Home tab in the Quick Links box, select Check Grades.

Grade Correction Procedure

The University considers all grades reported at the end of each semester to be final. Students are responsible for reviewing their grades for accuracy before the end of the subsequent semester. Students who believe they have received a grade in error should promptly ask the instructor to verify and, if appropriate, correct the grade.

Grades received for the semester of graduation will be considered sealed 60 days after the official date of graduation. However, the deadline to request a grade correction is the end of the semester following that in which the grade was assigned. If the instructor is absent from campus during the subsequent semester, students should promptly consult with the department chair about the grade in question. If the department chair is unable to contact the instructor, he/she will notify the Associate Dean of the College in writing that an extension of the grade correction deadline, up to one year, has been granted.

Independent Study Courses

Enrollment in Independent Study courses (499, 599, 699) is by permission of the department chair and consent of an instructor to act as a sponsor. Students must obtain a permission number from the academic department to enroll in Independent Study courses.

Individual Study Courses

Enrollment in Individual Study is by permission of the department chair and consent of an instructor to act as sponsor. Individual Study courses may be taken only in substitution for approved courses that are not available during the semester of enrollment and are available on a limited basis. Check with the academic department for details.

Repeat Policy

Students enrolling in a course for the first time receive priority over students who wish to repeat a course. Students may repeat a course on a space-available basis before the term or semester begins, starting with the dates in the chart below:

Term: Repeating a course is permitted beginning:
Spring 2014 Thursday, January 16, 2014
Summer 2014 Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Fall 2014 New!  Monday, August 11, 2014

Permission numbers are required to add classes, including repeated courses, beginning with the second week of instruction in the fall and spring semesters. For more enrollment dates, see the Registration Calendar. For Late Registration dates and policies, see Add and Drop Classes.

Repeat policies and unit limits differ for undergraduate and graduate students as summarized below.

Undergraduate Students

A maximum of 16 semester units of CSU Northridge coursework in which an undergraduate student earned less than a C grade may be repeated for the purpose of excluding grades (or grade forgiveness) from the computation of a student’s overall GPA. Only the first 16 semester units repeated are eligible for grade forgiveness. All subsequent repeats will be averaged into the student’s total GPA.

After the first 16 units of repeated coursework, an additional 12 semester units may be repeated for grade averaging, but not grade forgiveness. Both the original and the repeated grades shall be calculated into the student’s total GPA.

Any course taken at CSUN must be re-taken at CSUN to replace (or forgive) the previous C-, D, F, or WU grade within the 16-unit maximum. Any course repeated at another college will be averaged into your cumulative GPA; your previous grade will not be forgiven.

Enrolling in an individual course for the third time is generally not permitted. For exceptions, consult your academic advisor and complete the Third Repeat Approval Request.

Graduate Students

Students pursuing a graduate degree must maintain a minimum 3.0 (B) average in the formal program and the cumulative grade point average. No grade below a C can be counted in the formal program. Any grade of C- or below in the formal program must be repeated after an approved course repeat form has been filed. If the student does not receive a C or better on the second attempt, the student will be disqualified from the program. A maximum of 6 units in the formal program may be repeated at the graduate level. The repeat grade will appear on the transcript. Departments may have higher standards that take precedence over the university policy.

The Course Repeat Form for Graduate Students is available in the Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs Office, University Hall 265, (818) 677-2138.

Time Conflicts (Simultaneous Enrollment)

Students are not permitted to enroll simultaneously in any two or more classes whose scheduled times overlap even by one minute. Students are advised to enroll in an alternate section of the class that does not conflict with the rest of their schedule. Note: Permission numbers do not override time conflicts.

Exceptions to this policy will be permitted ONLY IF one of the classes does not meet on a regular basis, such as an independent study, internship or lab class that permits independent lab work. Students who meet the acceptable criteria must submit a completed Time Conflict Petition to Admissions and Records no later than 4 pm on Friday of the third week of classes. Petitions will not be considered after the deadline.

No Petition will be accepted without the signatures of the instructor and department chair for each class. An approved Extra Unit Authorization form must accompany the Time Conflict Petition if enrollment in the class will result in more than the maximum number of units allowed for the term or semester. Please see Maximum Unit Load.

Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students need to take the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) no later than the semester in which they complete 75 units. Students who do not take the test by the completion of 75 units will have a registration hold placed on their future registration.

For UDWPE information including test dates, online registration and preparation resources, visit the CSUN Testing Center.

Do you have an UDWPE registration hold?

Graduate Students

Graduate students must satisfy the UDWPE requirement in order to attain classified status and before completing 12 units in their formal program unless they passed it previously as an undergraduate. Please see the Graduate Policies.

Withdrawals – Student Initiated

Withdrawing is Your Responsibility!

As a student, you are responsible for all adjustments to your schedule at all times. You should know that failure to follow formal withdrawal procedures may result in the assignment of failing grades, an obligation to pay tuition and other fees, and the need to apply for readmission to the university.

Please note:

Withdrawal Limits

Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 units of CSU Northridge courses. This 18 semester unit limit does not apply to the first 20 days of each semester when withdrawals from courses are permitted without restriction or penalty. See also the Undergraduate Policy on Withdrawals.

Medical withdrawals, whether partial or complete, do not count toward the maximum 18 units. To check the number of units you've withdrawn from, see the How To Guide View Withdrawals/Repeats - Undergraduate Students.

How and When to Withdraw

No approvals are necessary to drop classes online through myNorthridge before classes begin and during Late Registration. For deadlines and instructions, see Add and Drop Classes.

Consequences of Withdrawing

Reducing the number of enrolled units may affect your eligibility for Campus Housing, International Student status, Financial Aid and more. A Financial Aid student who reduces the number of units or who completely withdraws from a period of enrollment may be subject to REPAYMENT (including medical withdrawal). Before withdrawing, review the Information Regarding Change in Program or Schedule and consult the appropriate offices for assistance.

Financial aid and scholarship recipients should also see What Affects My Financial Aid – Withdrawal Policy.