Notice – Policies and resources for the campus community on the COVID-19 global pandemic, including necessary health and safety precautions and how to obtain more information from health care providers, state health authorities, and the CDC's COVID-19 web site

Academic Policies-Student Status

This section covers key events associated with your status as a student and possible changes in status, such as reduced course load, withdrawal, and readmission. You’ll find answers to questions about grades, honors, and academic probation.

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 Status

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).

*Effective Spring 2020


Reduced Course Loads

Reduced Course Loads (RCL) may be granted under certain circumstances outlined below. Petitions and other supporting documentation for an RCL must be submitted by the add/drop deadline during the fourth week of the semester to Rausser College Office of Instruction & Student Affairs. See the table below for specific instructions. 

If you are planning to request an RCL, plan ahead and gain approval from the appropriate offices to avoid negative implications to your registration, financial aid, and/or visa status.  

  • Students that receive financial aid should confirm with a Financial Aid Adviser whether their aid package will be impacted by a reduced course load. 
  • Students declared in simultaneous degrees will need approval from both colleges for a reduced course load. 
  • International students should contact Berkeley International Office to determine whether their visa status will be impacted by a reduced course load. 
  • Student athletes should contact their Athletic Studies Center Adviser to determine whether they may enroll in a reduced course load.

If you do not meet one of the above criteria, but feel that you have a medical, personal, or family circumstances that warrant consideration of an approved RCL, you may meet with their College Advisor to discuss your options and the best course of action.

If you take an unapproved RCL, you will receive a warning email if it is the first time. If you take another unapproved RCL, you will receive a hold on future registration. In this case, you will need to meet with their College Advisor to remove the hold. 

Reduced Course Load Due to Dependant Care

Students who are the primary care provider for a dependant may petition to enroll in fewer than the minimum 12 units per semester. Complete the Petition to Request a Reduced Course Load to submit your request. If approved, students must enroll in a minimum of two courses totalling at least 6 units.  The last day to submit the form is the Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction.

Students with reduced course loads due to dependant care are required to pay full tuition and fees, regardless of the number of enrolled units.

Reduced Course Load 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 DSP and have been approved for a reduced course load by your DSP advisor before the Add/Drop/Swap Deadline (4th Wednesday of the Semester), then no further action is required.

If you are approved for a DSP reduced course load after the Add/Drop/Swap Deadline, please have your DSP advisor email a confirmation letter directly to your major advisor from their berkeley.edu email. 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 email from a DSP staff (with their Berkeley email).

Please note you must receive approval by your DSP advisor for every semester you wish to to take a reduced course load as part of your DSP accommodations.

Students may be approved for reduced tuition when they have been approved for a reduced course load by the Disabled Students' Program AND by their college. Requests are initiated through the Disabled Students' Program Office and must be completed by the Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction.  Once both approvals are in place, students will be assessed tuition & fees as follows:

  • 50% Tuition
  • 100% Campus Fee, Class Pass, Health Insurance
  • 50% of Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition, if applicable

Approved undergraduate students may enroll for two courses or fewer per semester.  Students should consult the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office as their aid package may be reduced due to reduced enrollment and fees.

Reduced Course Load 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 Petition to Request a Reduced Course Load to submit your request. The last day to submit the form is the Wednesday of the fourth 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 course 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)
15-19  10
20-29  8
30 or more  6
 

Students with reduced course loads due to employment are required to pay full tuition and fees, regardless of the number of enrolled units.

Reduced Course Load Due to Graduation

Students who enrolled in courses within their Expected Graduate Term (EGT) may petition to enroll in fewer than the minimum 12 units. Complete the Petition to Request a Reduced Course Load to submit your request. If approved, students must enroll in the courses or units required to complete their degree.  The last day to submit the form is the Wednesday of the fourth week of instruction.

Students with reduced course loads due to graduation are required to pay full tuition and fees, regardless of the number of enrolled units.


Canceling Registration/Withdrawing/Semester-Out Rule

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

Semester-Out Rule: 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.  Due to COVID-19, students who withdrew from the university after the 8th week of Spring 2020 were eligible to be readmitted for Fall 2020.  This policy change is only for Spring 2020.  Students who withdraw from the university after the 8th week of Fall 2020 or subesquent semesters, are not eligible for readmission in 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


Readmission

If you were a registered student pursuing a UC Berkeley degree at some prior point and would like to return, you need to be readmitted and approved for re-enrollment.

Undergraduate students who left the University and were absent for one or more semesters must apply for readmission.  Readmission and re-enrollment is not guaranteed.  The decision ultimately rests with your college.

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.  Students who withdraw from the university after the 8th week of Fall 2020 or subsequent semesters, are not eligible for readmission in the following semester.

Upon readmission, you will be required to submit an online Statement of Legal Residence and an application for readmission fee via CalCentral. For more information about readmission fee waivers, please visit the Educational Opportunity Program website.

Applying for Readmission
To be considered for readmission, you should consult your major advisor before you apply. Then, complete the following pieces of the Application for Readmission and submit all application materials together to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs (askcnr@berkeley.edu):

  • Undergraduate Application for Readmission
  • Program Planning Form approved with your major advisor's signature
  • 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

Students from Other Colleges
Students from other UC Berkeley colleges who wish to be readmitted into Rausser College may petition to do so if change of college requirements are met. Rausser does not permit students to transfer in undeclared. Students must be eligible to declare a Rausser major to change colleges.  Students must meet all requirements to petition a Change of College.

Students pursuing a change of college should:

Readmission After Dismissal
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.


Academic Probation

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 College Advisor 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.

SPRING 2020: Recognizing the challenges to teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rausser College of Natural Resources did not penalize any students’ academic progress for Spring 2020. 

  • Students in good academic standing who earn all “P” grades will remain in good standing.
  • Students, who are in good standing, who earn NP grades, Incompletes, or failing grades for more than 50% of units will be required to meet with their college advisor and complete an Academic Success Plan for Fall 2020 by September 11, 2020, but will not be placed on Academic Probation.
  • Students on Academic Probation may be removed from probationary status with sufficient letter graded course work to raise their cumulative GPA above 2.0.
  • Students on Academic Probation who do not attain sufficient letter-graded coursework to be removed from AP (ie. enough grade points to raise cumulative GPA above 2.0 cumulative GPA) will remain on AP for Fall 2020 and must complete an Academic Success Plan with their college advisor by September 11, 2020.
  • Students on Term Probation, but not AP, may be removed from probationary status with passing grades in at least 50% of units for Spring 2020.
  • Students on Term Probation at the start of Spring 2020 who earn NP, Incomplete, or failing grades for more than 50% of units must complete an Academic Success Plan with their college advisor by September 11, 2020 and will remain on Term Probation.

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 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021. 

  • General Distinction: 3.773
  • High Distinction: 3.870
  • Highest Distinction: 3.953

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 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 (see the previous Distinction section).