Academic Policies-Student Status
This section covers key events associated with your status as a student and possible changes in status, such as reduced study lists, withdrawal, and readmission. You’ll find answers to questions about grades, honors, and academic probation.
- Class Status as a Student
- Full-Time, Part-Time, Limited Status
- Reduced Study due to Disability
- Reduced Study due to Employment and Employment Verification
- Medical Withdrawal
- Academic Probation
- Distinctions and Honors
Definitions of Your Status as a Student
Student status refers to the different ways you may be enrolled in, exiting, or re-entering the University.
Status by Units
Class status is defined by the number of units you have completed toward your degree.
- Freshman: fewer than 30 units completed
- Sophomore: at least 30 units but fewer than 60 units completed
- Junior: at least 60 units but fewer than 90 units completed
- Senior: at least 90 units completed
Students who came in as freshmen are expected to graduate in eight semesters. Transfer students are expected to graduate in four semesters. Students completing more than one major and students who study abroad through the UC Education Abroad Program during the academic year are automatically granted an additional semester. Students are not granted additional time to complete a minor.
Full-time students paying full registration fees must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units and not exceed a maximum of 20.5 units per semester. In order to go under the minimum or exceed the maximum, you must seek special permission from the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs. Even if the College permits you to take fewer than 12 units, other departments and units on the Berkeley campus may not, such as Financial Aid. It is your responsibility to check with all campus programs pertinent to your academic and financial status.
There may be repercussions for not carrying a full-time course load as expected (e.g. no late drops or extra semester, not considered in grant decisions, denial of senior year reduced course load).
**The 12 unit minimum change is a new College policy as of Spring 2020**
Reduced Study List Due to Employment
Students who are employed for a minimum of 15 hours per week may petition to enroll in fewer than the minimum 12 units per semester. Complete the Employment Verification for Reduced Study List form and submit it for approval to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs. The last day to submit the form is the Friday of the fifth week of instruction. We must verify your employment with your employer, and will make only two attempts to do so.
All work must be PAID employment; work-study is acceptable. Volunteer work is not considered for a reduced study load. Even if the Rausser College of Natural Resources gives you permission to take fewer than 12 units, you may not be considered a full-time student by other departments and units on campus. If you are a recipient of financial aid or a scholarship award, check with the Financial Aid Office as well as with the administrators for your scholarships for further details on the impact it may cause to current and/or future financial aid packages and other monetary awards.
Hours worked per week Reduced Load (Units)
|Hours worked per week||Reduced Load (Units)|
|30 or more|| 6
Reduced Study List Due to Disability
If you have a documented and verifiable disability, you may be eligible for academic accommodations and support services—such as readers, notetakers, sign language interpreters, attendant referral, assistive technology, and housing assistance—through the Disabled Students Program (DSP). To find out how, or if, you qualify for the services provided through DSP, please contact them directly at (510) 642-0518 or (510) 642-6376. They are located in 260 Cesar Chavez Student Center, and their website is dsp.berkeley.edu. If you qualify for the services provided through DSP, please bring to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs a written document from DSP stating that fact. Failure to provide appropriate documentation of your status means, for example, we will be unable to help you drop a class if that is a course of action you need to take. We can accept only an official letter from DSP (no phone calls or emails), and your letter is valid for the current semester only. You must submit a new letter for every semester you want to carry a reduced study list via DSP.
We understand that students must sometimes take time off from college. It is strongly recommended that you first contact your advisor before canceling or withdrawing from the University.
You may cancel your registration if you do not wish to attend the university for a semester and instruction has not yet begun. You may withdraw from the university if instruction has already begun and you find it necessary to discontinue attending classes, or prior to instruction, you are enrolled in at least one course and have paid partial fees.
If you are an incoming freshman or transfer student, you should call or visit the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs for advising if you are considering canceling your registration. To do so otherwise may require that you reapply to the university in the future.
Whether you cancel or withdraw, any classes in which you are enrolled will be dropped from your schedule, and you will not be eligible to attend UC Berkeley until you are readmitted.
Canceling: If you decide to cancel your registration, you must contact your advisor and submit a Withdrawal Request Form via Cal Central prior to the first day of instruction for the semester. No fees are involved in canceling your registration. If you plan to re-register in the future, you will be required to complete and submit an Undergraduate Application for Readmission with the appropriate fees.
Withdrawing: Once instruction has begun, you cannot cancel your registration. You must withdraw. If you decide to withdraw, you must first meet with your advisor and then submit a Withdrawal Request Form via Cal Central. Please be aware that your withdrawal may impact your future readmission. Therefore, please be sure to communicate with your advisor of your plans to withdraw and when you anticipate returning to Cal. Anytime you do not attend for a semester and wish to return (unless you are part of the University’s Education Abroad Program), you will be required to complete an Undergraduate Application for Readmission .
You may withdraw from the current term anytime between the first and last day of instruction. However, if you withdraw from a semester after the 8th week of the semester you will not be eligible for readmission for the following semester.
Withdrawals after the last day of instruction are considered retroactive and are rarely granted. Information regarding refunds of registration fees and financial aid implications should be directed to Cal Student Central in 120 Sproul Hall. More information can be found on the Registrar’s website. (Please note: all withdrawals processed by the College are considered personal withdrawals.)
Medical Withdrawal : If you need to withdraw for medical reasons, you must first consult with University Health Services (UHS) in the Tang Center. We will be glad to work with you and UHS to help you with your medical withdrawal and future readmission. For more information, visit the UHS website .
If you have canceled your registration, withdrawn from the university, or failed to enroll for the semester, you must apply for readmission to continue your coursework at UC Berkeley. The deadlines to apply for readmission are June 1 for the following fall semester and November 1 for the following spring semester. It is strongly recommended that you apply for readmission as soon as you know when you’ll return, and well in advance of these deadlines, to secure the earliest possible registration time for the next semester.
To be considered for readmission, you should consult with the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs before you apply. Then, complete the following checklist and submit all pieces to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs:
- Undergraduate Application for Readmission
- Program Planning Form approved by your major advisor
- A personal statement, no more than 1 page, indicating how you are academically prepared to return to Berkeley.
- Official transcripts from any other institution(s) attended while away from the university
Note: Upon readmission, you will be required to submit an online Statement of Legal Residence and an application for readmission fee at calcentral.berkeley.edu. Click here for more information about readmission fee waivers.
COVID-19 Campus Closure Note: Please contact your academic advisor to submit Readmission Paperwork, as our campus office is closed.
Address mail to:
Office of Instruction & Student Affairs (OISA)
260 Mulford Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3100
Your application will then be reviewed by Rausser College. If approved, you will be readmitted and may begin classes in the semester for which you applied for admission.
Many students experience some form of academic difficulty during their college career. For some students, they may simply struggle through a class or two or through a single term. For others, academic difficulty may be more severe and/or long-lasting. Whatever the situation, there are many ways you can make connections with staff, faculty, and fellow students that may help you overcome the difficulties you have been experiencing.
As a student on academic probation, the two most important steps you can take are to gain as much information as possible about your individual academic situation and, based on this information, develop a plan to return to good academic standing in the following semester. This is the time to do the following:
- Meet with your advisor in the College undergraduate advising office in 260 Mulford Hall to discuss your situation;
- Be aware of the grades you must earn to clear probationary status;
- Know what courses you should be taking, retaking, or not retaking;
- Develop a study schedule and routine that will provide you with both the structure and support you need to concentrate on improving your academic performance; and
- See Study Strategies For Students Experiencing Academic Difficulty. These resources help you to refine your learning strategies, improve your time-management techniques, and learn how to find a healthy balance in the academic, personal, and social aspects of your lives.
- Complete an Academic Success Plan with your academic advisor.
What Academic Probation Means
2.0 CUMULATIVE (OR "OVERALL") PROBATION
Students are placed on academic probation if their cumulative (or “overall”) UC grade-point average (GPA) falls below 2.0. Should this happen to you, you will need to bring your cumulative UC GPA up to 2.0 the following regular semester (fall/spring), or you will be subject to dismissal.
1.5 "TERM" PROBATION
Students in this category are placed on academic probation if their GPA falls below 1.5 in any fall or spring semester ("Term"). To get back into good standing, you must earn a UC Berkeley term GPA of 2.0 the following regular semester (fall/spring) and maintain an overall GPA of 2.0. If you fail to meet these conditions, you will be subject to dismissal from the University.
Policies and Regulations for Students on Academic Probation
- While on probation, you are not eligible to take a class for a Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) grade if the course is also offered for a letter grade. You may, however, enroll in a course that is only offered P/NP, such as EDUC 98, ETH STD 98, etc.
- Repeating courses for which you received a grade of D+ or lower is usually a good idea. However, (a) you are limited to 12 units of repeats; (b) you may repeat a course ONLY ONCE; and (c) the SECOND grade replaces the original grade, even if the second grade is LOWER. Note that both the first and second grades will appear on your transcript. See the Office of Registrar website for more information on repeating courses.
- Outstanding Incomplete (I) grades should not be ignored; speak with an advisor about how to handle these grades. Incompletes will eventually lapse to F or NP regardless of your registration status. See the Office of Registrar website for more information on Incomplete grades.
- Students on probation may withdraw from a semester through the last day of RRR week. An advisor in 260 Mulford Hall will be able to discuss this option with you. A student who withdraws while on probation may be required to demonstrate academic readiness to return to campus.
- You may be eligible for a reduced course load. If you are working 15 or more hours of paid employment per week, are a parent, have disabilities, or have unusual family responsibilities, you may request a reduced course load. However, if you receive financial aid, you should contact that office to determine how a reduced course load will have an impact on your current or future aid.
- You may decide to take some time off. If you attend another college outside the UC system, be aware that those grades will not be computed into the UCB GPA upon re-admission. D or F grades at UC Berkeley cannot be repeated at another college outside the UC system. (Note: XB coursework taken through UC Extension is an exception. Please consult an advisor before enrolling.)
- Courses taken during Summer Sessions may boost your GPA but will not remove you from Academic Probation status; probation must be cleared during a regular semester (fall/spring).
If you fear you may go on academic probation, meet with your undergraduate advisor immediately.
What Dismissal Means
When students are unable to improve their academic performance and meet the conditions of their probation (as described above), they are subject to dismissal from the University. Rausser College’s Assistant Dean will review the case of each student before making a decision about dismissal, and students will be offered the ability to petition to continue on probation with permission of the Assistant Dean on a case-by-case basis.
Students in dismissal status may not continue their studies in the Rausser College of Natural Resources. Students that have been dismissed are not allowed to enroll in classes at UC Berkeley. However, some students may elect to attend another educational institution, such as a community college, work to improve their academic performance, and request special permission to return to UC Berkeley. While this may be an option, the Assistant Dean will only consider readmission after dismissal if the student demonstrates tangible readiness to return, usually in the form of significantly improved academic performance and demonstrated the ability to focus on a specific, attainable academic course of study. Your advisor will be able to discuss these and other options with you.
Distinction and Honors
Rausser College Honors Program
The Rausser College of Natural Resources Honors Program is designed to support undergraduate students interested in developing, executing, and evaluating a yearlong independent research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
Students who successfully complete the Honors Program will earn recognition at graduation and will also receive a notation of Honors in their major on their diploma. The Honors Symposium, held once each semester, gives all Honors students the opportunity to present their research to fellow students, faculty, deans, friends, and family.
Distinction in General Scholarship at Graduation
Distinction is awarded at graduation, and a notation of such will appear on your final transcript and diploma. To earn distinction, you must:
- Complete a minimum of 50 semester units at the University of California.
- Complete at least 43 of the 50 units for a letter grade.
- Complete at least 30 of the 50 units at Berkeley.
- Possess a GPA that ranks you at the top of your graduating class:
- top 3 percent for highest distinction
- next 7 percent for high distinction
- next 10 percent for distinction
Minimum cumulative UC GPAs needed to earn Distinction in General Scholarship for students graduating Fall 2019, Spring 2020, and Summer 2020:
- General Distinction: 3.748
- High Distinction: 3.840
- Highest Distinction: 3.930
Rausser College Dean’s List
The College Dean’s List is a mark of achievement granted at the end of each semester to students ranked in the top percentage of all Rausser students by GPA. It will appear on your transcript. (Please note, however, that it is not related to Distinction in General Scholarship.) The qualifications for Dean’s List are:
- Have completed 12 or more units for a letter grade during the previous semester.
- Possess a GPA for the semester ranking you in the top 10 percent of all Rausser undergraduates.
- Have no Incompletes, No Report (NR), Not Passed grades, no repeated courses, or missing grades from the previous semester.
Honors to Date Notation
Honors to Date is a notation on your transcript that indicates you are currently on track to earn Distinction in General Scholarship. It appears after every semester’s grades are reported. Should you cease to qualify, Honors to Date will not appear on the following semester’s grade report, although you will still see it noted for the semesters in which you already earned it.
You will see Honors to Date if you meet the following the criteria:
- At least 12 units completed and taken for a letter grade at UC Berkeley for that semester.
- Overall GPA (all semesters, cumulative) equal to or higher than the GPA needed to earn Distinction in General Scholarship.