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.

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 13 units and not exceed a maximum of 19.5 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 13 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.

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 13 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 College of Natural Resources gives you permission to take fewer than 13 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

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 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.

Canceling Registration/Withdrawing

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.

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.

Incoming freshmen or transfer students should call or visit the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs for advising if they are considering canceling their registration. To do so otherwise may preclude reapplying to the university.

Canceling : If you decide to cancel your registration, you must contact your advisor and cancel prior to the first day of instruction for the semester. You may cancel your registration via Tele-BEARS or by notifying the Office of the Registrar in writing prior to the first day of instruction. You may also go to the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs or Cal Student Central in 120 Sproul Hall to have your cancelation processed. 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 the Lead College Advisor in the Office of Instruction and Student Affairs to complete a “Notice of Withdrawal.” We will provide you with valuable information and advice regarding your withdrawal. Please be aware that your withdrawal may impact your future readmission. 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. Withdrawals after the last day of instruction are considered retroactive and are rarely granted. Information regarding refunds of registration fees and financial aid implication 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. The deadline for Spring semester is November 1 and the deadline for Fall semester is June 1.

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 mail 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.
  • Application for Readmission fee (Click here for more information about readmission fee waivers.)
  • 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 at   

Address this mail to:
Office of Instruction & Student Affairs (OISA) 
260 Mulford Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3100

Your application will then be reviewed by CNR. If approved, you will be readmitted and may begin classes in the semester for which you applied for admission.

Academic Probation

You will be placed on academic probation if your cumulative UC Berkeley GPA falls below 2.0. Should this happen, you must bring your cumulative GPA up to 2.0 within the following two semesters. If your grade point average worsens in the first semester after going on academic probation, you could be subject to dismissal.

You may also be placed on 1.5 “term” probation—a form of academic probation—if your GPA falls below 1.5 in any fall or spring semester. In such a case, you must bring your term GPA to 2.0 the following fall or spring semester (“term”) and maintain your cumulative GPA of 2.0 thereafter, or you could be subject to dismissal.

If you fear you may go on academic probation, meet with your undergraduate advisor immediately.


Dismissal occurs when you are no longer in good academic standing (when your academic performance fails to meet the required GPA of 2.0) for two semesters in a row. Once dismissed, you are no longer considered a Berkeley student and should not attempt to enroll in classes. If you have been dismissed, you will have to appeal in writing to the Associate Dean of Instruction and Student Affairs for readmission.

Distinction and Honors

CNR Honors Program

The 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 CNR graduating class:
    • top 3 percent for highest distinction
    • next 7 percent for high distinction
    • next 10 percent for distinction

CNR Dean’s List

The CNR Dean’s List is a mark of achievement granted at the end of each semester to students ranked in the top percentage of all CNR 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 13 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 CNR 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.