This page highlights many of the academic policies that affect students’ eligibility to enroll in classes. For more information, see University Catalog – Policies.
Academic Standing, Probation and Disqualification
Academic standing determines a student's eligibility to enroll in the University through the regular enrollment process. Students can be in good academic standing, on probation, or in disqualified status.
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-F, IC and 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 course work transferred from other institutions as well as course work taken at CSUN. The CSUN GPA only includes course work taken at CSUN.
Students in good academic standing are eligible to enroll in the University when they maintain the following minimum GPA in both CSUN course work and cumulative total GPA for their class level:
Undergraduate and second bachelor’s students
Joint master/credential students*
Graduate students in master's degree programs
*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 eligible to enroll in CSUN classes through the regular enrollment process with restrictions. 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 CSUN’s Tseng College.
Academic Probation and Disqualification
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.
If you are working toward a second bachelor’s degree, there is no probationary period. Please see Second Baccalaureate Disqualification below.
Students on probation are eligible to enroll in CSUN classes through the regular enrollment process with these restrictions.
- All students on probation receive a registration hold and can only register for classes after they have received advisement from the SSC/EOP Satellite in the College of their major or, for undecided students, the Advising Resource Center/EOP.
- Students on probation can enroll in a maximum of 13 units per semester or summer term. For more information, see “Maximum Unit Load” on this page.
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 below:
Freshman (1 – 29 units earned)
Sophomore (30 – 59 units earned)
Junior (60 – 89 units earned)
Senior (90 + units earned)
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.
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 a total of 24 units of course credit taken through the Tseng College in any term, session or semester can be counted toward a CSUN undergraduate degree.
Before students in disqualified status can be readmitted to the University under an “Academic Performance Agreement” (APA), they must demonstrate acquired skills or achievements that support a successful return to the University. Such evidence may include successful completion of courses in the student’s degree program at another institution or through the Tseng College with grades that demonstrate the student can achieve good standing in a reasonable time frame if readmitted to CSUN. Students are strongly urged to meet with their CSUN academic advisor to discuss the requirements that must be completed in order to be readmitted. When all requirements have been met, students may apply to the University for readmission.
Readmission of Previously Disqualified Undergraduate Students:
Students in disqualified status seeking readmission to CSUN must submit:
- A formal application for readmission through Cal State Apply,
- Official transcripts of course(s) completed at another college or university during the period in which the student has been in disqualified status, and
- A Previously Disqualified Student Questionnaire (.pdf) to be filed no later than the deadline published on the form.
These documents must be filed in the Office of Admissions and Records by the published deadline before campus review can begin. For application deadlines, see the Admissions Calendar.
Readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement (APA):
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 readmitted under an APA have the following restrictions on their regular enrollment process:
- All students readmitted under an APA receive a registration hold and can only register for classes after they have received advisement from the SSC/EOP Satellite in the College of their major or, for undecided students, the Advising Resource Center/EOP.
- Students readmitted under an APA can enroll in a maximum of 13 units per semester or summer term. For more information, see “Maximum Unit Load” on this page.
Students in this status, whether they have one or two disqualifications, must fulfill all of the following requirements until they reach good standing:
- earn a minimum 2.0 semester GPA;
- enroll in classes each semester; and
- have in place a signed APA that details the academic progress they must achieve to move toward completion of the bachelor’s degree within a designated time period.
Students who are readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement but who fail to maintain continuous enrollment in classes each fall and spring semester, or who fail to achieve a 2.0 semester GPA, will return to disqualified status. They must then 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. Read more in the University Catalog at Categories of Disqualification and Academic Reinstatement to the University after Third Disqualification.
Second baccalaureate students will be placed in disqualified status if 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 about reinstatement to the University in the full policy at Second Baccalaureate Disqualification (.pdf).
Credential and Graduate Students
Credential students must maintain a 2.75 GPA. Graduate students admitted conditionally or classified into a degree program must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students are placed on probation at the end of any semester in which their GPA falls below the respective maintenance level. Students on probationary status who do not raise their GPA to their maintenance level in the next semester of enrollment will be disqualified from further attendance at the University.
Once disqualified, the student must formally petition to be reinstated as a graduate student. If the GPA is below the minimum of 2.5, the student will not be allowed to enroll except under special circumstances requiring the approval of the Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies. Additional information regarding the reinstatement process is available from the Graduate Studies Office, University Hall 275.
Students who are disqualified and who do not attend the semester immediately following their disqualification must apply for readmission to the University. Learn more in the Graduate Student Handbook and at Probation and Disqualification (Graduate Program Policy), University Catalog.
Students are expected to attend all class meetings. Students who are absent from the first meeting of a class that meets only once a week, or who miss the first two meetings of a course that meets more than once a week, lose the right to remain on the class roll and must formally withdraw from the class by following current university procedures and deadlines. Otherwise, the instructor will assign a grade of “WU” (Unauthorized Withdrawal), which counts as an “F” in computing GPA.
In a compressed term or session of fewer than 15 weeks, the rule applies if the first class meeting is missed. An instructor may allow a student to continue in the class if the student notified the instructor that the absence would be temporary. If no instructor was assigned to the course in advance, students must notify the department chair that their absence from the class will be temporary.
Also see “Withdrawals” on this page.
Course requisites are the requirements that students need to satisfy when enrolling in a particular class section. A course requisite often requires students to enroll in another related class, but a requisite can also be a “condition” such as attaining a certain class level, a specific exam score, a specified passing grade, etc.
Requisites are stated in the course descriptions of the University Catalog. To view requisites in Class Search, look up the class section and select the “Detail” link. Any requisites will display under “Course Information” and “Notes.”
Four common course requisites are explained below:
- A prerequisite must be completed or met before enrolling in a course. CSUN courses in which students are currently enrolled (i.e., work in progress) at the time of registration will satisfy prerequisite requirements. Transfer work in progress at another institution will NOT satisfy prerequisite requirements.
- A co-requisite requires concurrent enrollment in another associated course (usually a lecture or graded lab). The registration system will prompt you to add all co-requisite courses before finishing your enrollment request. Be sure to check “Class Notes” to see if concurrent enrollment in a specific class section number is required. For registration steps, see the guide Add Classes.
- A multiple component course is a graded lecture class that has a required, non-graded, zero-unit lab or discussion (usually applies only to selected Chemistry classes). No matter which component you enroll in first, SOLAR will prompt you to add the corresponding lecture, lab and/or discussion classes also.
- A preparatory course or condition is recommended to be completed or met prior to enrollment in another course. The registration system will not block enrollment if the preparatory course/condition is not met. Consult with the academic department for more information.
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. 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.
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.
Limitations: Courses taken on a CR/NC basis cannot be used to satisfy ANY of the following degree requirements:
- General Education and Title 5 requirements.
- The Major, except those courses offered on a CR/NC basis only. (Additional courses in the discipline of the major beyond those used to satisfy major requirements may not be taken for CR/NC.)
- The Minor, except those courses offered on a CR/NC basis only, subject to departmental approval.
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.”
Learn more in the University Catalog at Credit/No Credit Grading.
Students are responsible for ensuring that their own academic programs (i.e., class schedules) are accurate. You are urged to act immediately to correct any enrollment discrepancies. Bring any 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” (Withdrawal Unauthorized) in courses never attended.
Learn more at:
- Late Add-Drop Classes
- "Withdrawals" on this page
If an undergraduate student repeats enrollment in a course beyond its published maximum “for-credit” limitations (see University Catalog course descriptions), 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.
Examples include performance-based Music courses and adapted exercise Kinesiology courses. Check with an advisor before re-enrolling in the 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.
Full- and Half-Time Enrollment
Full-time enrollment is a minimum of:
- 15 units for undergraduate students (12 units for financial aid* and certain external legal requirements)
- 8 units for graduate students
Half-time enrollment is a minimum of:
- 6 units for undergraduate students
- 4 units for graduate students working toward a master’s degree
Post-baccalaureate students working on a teaching credential or second bachelor’s degree who have federal loans must be enrolled in at least 6.1 units to be eligible for in-school deferments.
*For details, please visit Financial Aid Enrollment Requirements.
Leave of Absence (Academic Leave)
Eligibility for Leave
To encourage students with satisfactory academic performance to return to CSUN following an absence, the University will automatically place qualified resident and nonresident students on a leave of absence if they:
- were matriculated students in the semester immediately prior to the beginning of their leave of absence;
- were in good standing (i.e., are not academically disqualified or do not have special enrollment conditions at the close of the semester); and
- did not receive an undergraduate degree at the end of the immediately preceding regular semester or summer term at CSUN.
Eligible students who do not enroll in classes or who formally withdraw from all their classes within the first 20 days of instruction are automatically placed on leave for that semester. If they do not register in the following semester, they are granted one additional semester of leave. Students will receive registration information online for three semesters of non-attendance, provided they meet the criteria above. New and returning students in their first semester are not placed on academic leave in this situation (see below).
Permission for Leave of Absence
- International Students: Foreign students with J or F visas who meet the criteria above are eligible for leave, but they must request the prior approval of their international student advisor in the International and Exchange Student Center (IESC) and apply for a leave of absence.
- Undergraduate Students: No formal approval is required, but you are strongly encouraged to contact your academic advisor.
- Graduate Students: Though no formal approval is required, you are encouraged to seek academic advisement from your graduate coordinator.
When Leave Expires, Reapply for Admission!
- Continuing students who are placed on leave but do not enroll in the third semester (i.e., after the two semesters of leave) will need to reapply for admission to the University, including appropriate fees.
- New and returning students who do not enroll or who formally withdraw on or before the 20th day of instruction in their first semester are not placed on academic leave and must file a new application with appropriate fees.
- Graduate students who miss two or more semesters must meet all University and department requirements in effect at the time they reapply and can expect to have their academic program reviewed and modified if necessary.
Students must apply for readmission to the University during the next available application filing period.
Maximum Unit Load
Please note: The unit limits below are subject to change.
Enrolled Unit Load:
The maximum academic load of enrolled units for students in good academic standing is:
- Fall or spring semester: 17 units as soon as registration begins
- Summer term: 13 units for all sessions combined
Wait List Unit Load:
- You can wait list for 13 units maximum as soon as fall and spring registration begins.
- Graduating seniors may enroll in a maximum of 19 units during all registration periods. You are a graduating senior if you have applied for a graduation date in the semester in which you are enrolling, and you will complete all remaining degree requirements by the end of the semester.
- Students enrolled in certain cohort programs may be exempt from these unit limit restrictions.
- Students on academic probation may only enroll in 13 units. Undergraduate students readmitted under Academic Performance Agreement may only enroll in 13 units.
Extra Unit Authorization
Approval of extra units for students not listed among the exceptions above is strictly limited, so choose units wisely by consulting your academic advisor and using the degree planning tools.
Students needing to exceed the maximum unit load may:
1. Complete the "Extra Unit Authorization" form for your student group:
- Extra Unit Authorization for Undergraduate & Second Bacherlor's Students (Web form)
- "Extra Unit Authorization for Graduate and Credential Students," available at Graduate Studies Forms
2. Follow the instructions on the form to request approvals.
3. Submit your form no later than the third Friday of classes (the end of Late Registration) in the fall and spring semesters (office closes Fridays at 4:00 pm), or the second Friday of a summer session.
Extra Unit Authorization forms will be processed in Admissions and Records when Nonrestrictive Registration begins. For dates, see the Registration Calendar.
When representing the University in official curriculum-related, university-approved activities requires a student to miss classes, faculty are expected to provide, within reason, opportunity to make up any work or exams that are missed.
To be eligible for such accommodation, the student is obligated to provide the instructor of the class with written documentation signed by the faculty, staff member or administrator supervising the activity, giving specific information concerning the activity, its location, and the dates and times when class attendance is not possible. This documentation must be submitted to the instructor during the first week of the semester or as soon as the information becomes known. Instructors may set limits on the number of classes that may be missed for which special accommodation to make up missed work will be allowed. The process for making up missed class work is the prerogative of the instructor and shall be communicated to the affected students during the first week of classes or as soon as the need for accommodation becomes known.
For the purposes of this policy, if a question arises as to which events meet the definition of “official, curriculum-related, university-approved activities,” the determination shall be made by the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies.
Absence from class for official curriculum-related, university-approved activities does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence.
University sponsors of these activities have an obligation to respect the importance of regular class attendance for successful academic performance and to minimize the number of such absences. Instructional faculty have an obligation to respect the importance of such student participation, and to assist student participants in meeting their academic obligations.
Students enrolling in a course for the first time receive priority over students wishing to repeat a course. Students may enroll in a repeated course on a space-available basis starting several weeks before fall or spring classes begin.
- For enrollment dates, visit the Registration Calendar.
- Beginning with the second week of fall or spring classes, permission numbers are required to add all classes.
- For Late Registration dates and policies, visit Late Add-Drop Classes.
Repeat policies and unit limits differ for undergraduate and graduate students.
A maximum of 16 semester units of CSUN course work 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 course work, 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, IC 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 Web Form.
- Contact your academic advisor.
- Read the University Catalog undergraduate policy on Repeating Courses.
- Learn how to check your repeated courses and units with the guide View Withdrawals/Repeats - Undergraduate 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.
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. Please note that 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 file a completed Time Conflict Enrollment Petition (.pdf) to Admissions and Records no later than 4 pm on Friday of the fourth week of fall or spring classes.
Note these requirements:
- 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 Enrollment Petition (.pdf) 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” on this page.
Withdrawals, Administrative and Student Initiated
* * * Spring 2020 Update * * *
- Student course withdrawals earned during the Spring 2020 semester shall not count against the maximum of 18 units. This policy does not apply to Administrative Withdrawals (see below).
- Students may subsequently repeat a course with a CR grade earned in Spring 2020 for a letter grade later.
- Units earned for a repeated course in Spring 2020 shall be excluded from the 16-unit maximum for grade forgiveness.
- Campuses may allow students to repeat a course taken in Spring 2020 even if the student has already attempted the course twice.
Although it is the student’s responsibility to drop classes, the University may withdraw a student from a course within the first three weeks of instruction if the student fails to meet the prerequisite(s) or other requirements as indicated in the Course Catalog.
These prerequisites may include:
- Completion of prior course work
- Passing qualifying examinations
- Class year standing
- Admission to or special requirements of special programs, such as Honors or Credential
- Completion of prior course work with a required minimum credit
- Consent of instructor
Such an administrative withdrawal may be initiated only by the Associate Dean of the College, upon recommendation from the instructor or department chair.
Withdrawals – Student Initiated
As a student, you are responsible for all adjustments to your schedule at all times.
- The student—not the instructor—is responsible for dropping classes.
- Nonattendance does not constitute a withdrawal, nor does stopping payment on a check for tuition and other fees constitute a request for a refund.
Failure to follow formal withdrawal procedures may result in an obligation to pay tuition and other fees, the assignment of failing grades in all courses, and the need to reapply for admission to the University for the next academic term.
How and When to Withdraw
No approvals are necessary to drop classes online through myNorthridge from the start of registration through the close of Late Registration. Learn how at Drop or Swap Classes. Formal approval is required beginning with the fourth week of the fall and spring semesters. Read more at Late Add-Drop Classes.
Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 units of CSUN courses. The 18-unit limit does not apply to the first 20 days of each semester when withdrawals from courses are permitted without restriction or penalty. Review the University Catalog withdrawal policies for undergraduates and graduate students. To check the number of units you've withdrawn from, see the guide View Withdrawals/Repeats - Undergraduate Students.
Whether partial or complete, medical withdrawals do not count toward the maximum 18 units.
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 (including medical withdrawal) from a period of enrollment may be subject to REPAYMENT. Before withdrawing, review Academic Program Changes and consult the appropriate offices for assistance.
Financial aid and scholarship recipients should review What Affects My Aid – Withdrawal Policy.