Academic Regulations and Catalog Rights
Students are held individually responsible for meeting the requirements outlined in this catalog. Cal State San Marcos will make every effort to adhere to these requirements for students subject to this catalog; particularly important is the “Graduation Requirements” section. All parts of the catalog are subject to change from year to year as university rules, policies, and curricula change. Failure to keep informed of such changes will not exempt students from whatever penalties they may incur.
Election of Graduation Requirements and Catalog Rights for Undergraduate Students
I. A student may elect to meet the graduation requirements in effect:
- at the time the student began their college program at any one of the California State University (CSU) campuses or California Community Colleges;
- when the student entered the CSU campus from which they intend to graduate;
- at the time the student applies for graduation or at the time the student graduates from CSU San Marcos;
- at the time the student declares or changes their Major/Concentration/Option/Track/Minor; or
- at the time changes in Major or Minor requirements are found to affect the student. By choosing the catalog term(s) [year and semester] for the graduation requirements, a student is claiming his/her catalog rights.
There are three types of graduation requirements:
- General University Requirements: Total Units; Campus Residency; GPA; U.S. History, Constitution and American Ideals; Writing Requirement;
- General Education Requirements: Lower-Division Areas A-F, Upper-Division BB,CC, DD; Diversity and Equity Requirement; and
- Major or (optional) Minor Requirements.
A student’s catalog terms may or may not be the same for all three types, as described below in Sections II and III.
As long as a student maintains continuous attendance at CSU San Marcos, or a combination of CSU campuses and California Community Colleges, their catalog rights are protected, and thus their catalog term(s) for the graduation requirements listed above, are protected. See Section VI for the definition of continuous attendance.
II. Typical Circumstance for Transfer Students
Transfer students attending a California Community College will be automatically assigned the graduation requirements for the Major and/or Minor, General University requirements, and General Education requirements in effect for the term of admission to the university. A student may elect different catalog rights (according to the eligibility described above in Section I) in order to be subject to different graduation requirements.
III. Special Circumstances for Major and (Optional) Minor Requirements
If a student is following an earlier version of a Major/Minor in which their department has discontinued or modified required courses, the department will authorize appropriate substitutions.
Changes in the Curriculum
If the Major/Minor requirements change, a student may select the catalog term for Major/Minor requirements in effect at the time the student requests the change. The student may also select the catalog term for General University and General Education requirements to be the same as that of the Major or Minor requirements.
Changing the Major/Concentration/Option/Track/Minor
If, while enrolled, a student declares or changes their Major / Concentration / Option / Track / Minor, the student may select the catalog term for the Major or Minor requirements in effect at the time of the declaration or change. The student may also select the catalog term for General University and General Education requirements to be the same as that of the Major or Minor requirements.
IV. Graduating Students
Regardless of the previously declared catalog term(s), when a student applies for graduation, they may select the catalog term for any of the graduation requirements in effect (1) at the time the student applies for graduation or (2) at the time the student graduates.
V. Continuous Attendance and Out-One Term for Undergraduate Students
Continuous attendance/enrollment, as it refers to attendance by a student at any campus of The California State University, means enrollment in at least one course for at least one regular semester in each calendar year. Absence due to an approved educational leave or for attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning shall not be considered an interruption in attendance, if the absence does not exceed two years.
An “out one term” for an undergraduate student is a regular semester (either spring or fall) of any calendar year in which they do not enroll in any course or drops all courses by the end of the add/drop period, and which immediately follows a semester in which they were enrolled in at least one course beyond the add/drop period. A student maintains catalog rights during the out-one term. After exhausting the “out one term” allowance, if a student does not enroll and attend the subsequent term, the student must reapply for admission and may forfeit catalog rights, unless the student is granted an Educational Leave of Absence. Absence due to an approved educational leave shall not be considered an interruption in attendance if the absence does not exceed two years.).
All students who register at Cal State San Marcos for the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters must first be admitted to the University by the Office of Admissions.
Student Class Level
Students who have complied with all the admissions requirements and who have received an official notice of admission will be admitted to the University under one of the following classifications.
Freshman. A student who has earned a total of zero to twenty-nine (0 to 29) semester units inclusive.
Sophomore. A student who has earned a total of thirty to fifty-nine (30 to 59) semester units inclusive.
Junior. A student who has earned a total of sixty to eighty-nine (60 to 89) semester units inclusive.
Senior. A student who has earned a total of ninety (90) or more semester units.
Graduate/Post-baccalaureate. A student who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Declaration of Major and Specialization
Every student must declare a major; students pursuing multiple majors must declare all of them and which one is the student’s primary major. When a major has specializations (e.g., options or concentrations), these must also be declared. Students are strongly encouraged to make these declarations before achieving junior standing (i.e., completion of 60 units).
Students who have not declared a major and chosen a specialization (for majors with specializations) by the time that they have completed 80 units will have a hold placed on their registration until they meet with an advisor or submit a declaration of major/emphasis form. Certain students, such as student athletes, may be required to declare a major earlier than this stipulated above.
Certain programs, especially impacted programs, may have additional requirements for declaring a major/specialization, such as satisfactory performance in prerequisite courses and/or a petition process.
Students register for classes online, from any computer with Internet access, at home or on campus through MyCSUSM.
Continuing students normally register in November for the spring semester and in April for the fall semester. New students, transfer students, and returning students have the opportunity to register before the beginning of the term. Students should refer to their admission letter and the online Registration Calendar for more details.
Veteran or servicemember students are given priority enrollment for both the Fall and Spring terms. Continuing veteran or servicemember students are allowed to register on the first day of open enrollment. New veteran or servicemembers will be allowed to register for classes on the first day of enrollment for new students. This is typically done in June prior to the Fall term.
Please refer to the Enrollment Appointment Table on the University website at https://www.csusm.edu/schedule/fall2018/reg_appt_table.html. This table is updated by the Registrar’s office every semester, to reflect the current term’s appointment dates and times.
**Please note the campus does not offer priority enrollment during the Summer term for any students.
Student Course Load
Since every undergraduate degree requires a minimum of 120 units, a student who intends to graduate after eight semesters of study will need to average at least fifteen (15) units every semester. For this reason, a normal course load in a semester is fifteen (15) units. Undergraduates who are taking at least 80% of the normal load, that is, at least twelve (12) units in a regular fall or spring semester, are classified as full-time students. Students enrolled in nine (9) units or more in a summer term are classified as full-time. Undergraduates who are enrolled in fewer units are classified as part-time students.
Note that classification as a full-time or part-time student is different from the two levels of Tuition Fees: up to 6.0 units, and above 6.0 units (see Fees and Financial Aid ). For questions about course load requirements related to student financial aid, contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, (760) 750-4855. For questions about course load requirements related to Veterans Benefits, contact the veterans representative in the Veterans Center, (760) 750-4827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate international students on non-immigrant visas must carry and complete a minimum of twelve (12) units per semester unless a reduced load is authorized by the University. Reduced unit loads may be granted for substantial academic or compelling personal reasons beyond the control of the student. Failure to secure such authorization results in violation of student status under Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and State Department regulations, warranting discontinuance of enrollment.
Maximum Number of Units
Each unit of credit represents approximately 45 hours of student effort per academic term (both inside the classroom/laboratory and in work outside of class). In a traditional semester length lecture course, students are expected to devote two additional hours outside of class for each hour of lecture, for a total of three hours per unit in every week of the semester (See the Credit Hour section.)
Fall and Spring Semester
A student whose academic record justifies a study program in excess of nineteen (19) units in a Fall or Spring semester may be allowed to enroll for extra units. Undergraduates who request to enroll for more than nineteen (19) units must obtain the approval of their academic advisor. If such requests are denied, appeals may be made to the appropriate college dean. In general, only students with superior academic records and a demonstrated need for such excess enrollment will be allowed to enroll beyond the nineteen (19) unit limit. Note that a 19 unit course load carries with it a commitment of 57 hours each week. Students unable to devote this much time to their classes and study should register for fewer units.
Summer session classes are offered in five week and ten week formats.
Undergraduates taking classes only in the five week format may enroll in up to six (6) units in each five week block without needing approval for a higher course load. Undergraduates taking classes only in the ten week format may enroll in up to thirteen (13) units without needing approval. Students taking courses in both formats must complete the Summer Overload Worksheet below to determine whether they need approval for the overload. In Summer Session, students obtain approval from the dean of the college (or designee) of their major. Undeclared majors obtain approval from the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (or designee).
Prior to enrollment period for Winter Intersession, the maximum student course load will be determined and published with the Winter Intersession Class Schedule.
Summer Overload Worksheet for Undergraduates
Complete for each five-week block in which you are taking courses.
|(1) Total units of five-week courses taken during the block:
||_____ x 2 = _____ (a)
|(2) Total units of ten-week courses taken:
||_____ x 1 = _____ (b)
|(3) Add the numbers in (a) and (b)1.
||(a) + (b) = _____ (c)
If the number in (c) is 13 or less in each five week block, then no approval is required to enroll for courses. If the number in (c) is larger than 13, then you must obtain the approval of your academic advisor. If such requests are denied, appeals may be made to your college dean. In general, only students with superior academic records and a demonstrated need for such excess enrollment will be allowed to enroll for course loads that make the number in (c) more than 13.
Note that if the number in (c) is 13, then the course load carries with it a commitment of 58 hours each week. Students unable to devote this much time to their classes and study should enroll for fewer units.
1 The number in (c) is your number of Summer Schedule Units (SSU). SSU multiplied by 4.5 is approximately the number of hours per week that you should commit to classes and study during the summer session.
Administrative Course Drop, Student Attendance, and Enrollment Requirements
Students registered in a course but not present at the first class session, or who do not demonstrate participation during the add/drop period for online courses, will not be guaranteed a place in the class. Instructors have the option of making enrollment in a course contingent upon the following:
- attendance at specified class meetings, and/or
- proof of having satisfied the Enrollment Requirements.
Instructors are not required to drop students for non-attendance or having not met the Enrollment Requirements. Therefore, students should not assume that they will be automatically dropped for non-attendance, and should confirm their enrollment status before the add/drop deadline.
Students absent from the first class meeting, or not participating in the online course, may be administratively dropped from the course at the instructor’s request. In addition, instructors may stipulate that attendance/participation at other specified class meetings before the add/drop deadline is required for the students to remain enrolled in the course; these dates must be specified in the course syllabi (for example, in some science laboratory courses, student attendance at safety instruction sessions is mandated by state law). Students who are unable to attend the first class meeting, or class meetings where attendance/participation is required for enrollment, should make every effort to communicate their interest in remaining enrolled in the course; however, notification of the instructor may not be sufficient to ensure enrollment in the course, i.e., students may be administratively dropped from courses for failure to attend first class meetings or other mandatory meetings, even when the instructor is given prior notification.
Students who cannot provide evidence of having satisfied the Enrollment Requirements for the course may be administratively dropped from the course at the instructor’s request.
Students will not be administratively dropped after the add/drop period. For an administrative drop to occur, instructors must send the request to the Office of Registration and Records at least two working days before the end of the add/drop deadline.
Where students have been administratively dropped from a course, and where the absence or inability to contact the instructor was caused by mitigating circumstances, students should appeal to the instructor to regain enrollment in the course prior to the 20th day of classes in the semester (note that a different cut-off date applies to Summer sessions). After the 20th day of classes, reinstatements cannot be made, so any student who wishes to appeal an administrative drop must make the petition early enough to allow the instructor to consider it and to contact the Office of Registration and Records to have the reinstatement processed.
Withdrawal from Courses
Students may withdraw on or before the Add/Drop deadline (end of the second week of semester, end of approximately 10% of the academic term) and the course will not appear on their permanent records. No symbol need be recorded in such instances. After the second week of instruction and prior to the 19th day of the semester, students may withdraw with a “W” for reasons such as inadequate preparation. In connection with all other approved withdrawals, the “W” symbol shall be used. Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester-units attempted at CSU San Marcos during their undergraduate career.
Withdrawals After the 19th Day of the Semester and Prior to the End of the Twelfth Week of Instruction:
Withdrawal during this period is permissible only for serious and compelling reasons (see below). Permission to withdraw during this time shall be granted only with the approval of the instructor and the department chair, school director, or college dean or dean’s designee. All requests to withdraw under these circumstances and all approvals shall be documented as prescribed by the campus. The requests and approvals shall state the reasons for the withdrawal. Records of such approvals shall be maintained in accordance with the campus record retention policy.
Serious and Compelling Reasons: The following situations are typical of those for which “serious and compelling” is appropriate justification for approving withdrawals.
- An extended absence due to a verifiable accident, illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the University.
- An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family. This applies to absences exceeding a week due to family affairs that must be attended to by the student.
- A necessary change in employment status which interferes with the student’s ability to attend class. The student’s employer must verify this change in employment status in writing for the term in which the withdrawal is being requested.
- Other unusual or very special cases, considered on their own merit.
The following situations do not fall under the intent of “serious and compelling.”
- Grade anticipated in class is not sufficiently high, or student is doing failing work.
- Failure to attend class, complete assignments, or take a test.
- Dissatisfaction with course material, instructional method, or instructor.
- Class is harder than expected.
- Pressure of other classes, participation in social activities, or simple lack of motivation.
- A change of major.
Documentation: All requests for withdrawals after the 19th day of the semester must be for verifiable reasons and require appropriate documentation.
Withdrawals after the Twelfth Week or Retroactive Withdrawal:
Requests for withdrawal from courses after the twelfth week of instruction (retroactive withdrawal) are seldom granted. Students are expected to formally withdraw from classes or the University prior to the end of the twelfth week of instruction if work, personal, or health reasons interfere with class attendance or ability to complete work or exams.
Withdrawals from classes or the University after the twelfth week of instruction will be considered only for accidents or serious physical or mental illness, or serious personal or family problems where the cause of withdrawal is due to circumstances clearly beyond the student’s control and the assignment of an incomplete grade is not practicable. In addition, extenuating circumstances must be shown to have prevented withdrawal in a more timely fashion. Students may not request a late withdrawal for poor academic performance. Lack of awareness of the withdrawal procedures is not an extenuating circumstance. Requests for permission to withdraw after the twelfth week of instruction shall be handled and filed as indicated in the section for withdrawals after the 19th day of the semester and prior to the end of the twelfth week of instruction, except that such requests must also be approved by the academic administrator appointed by the President. Such withdrawals will not count against the 18 units maximum allowable to withdraw.
Procedures for Dropping or Withdrawing from Courses
Students should consult with advisors, the Office of Enrollment Management Services Operations/Registrar’s Office, or the Class Schedule for current course withdrawal procedures.
||Requirements and Procedures
|On or before the Add/Drop deadline: end of the second week of semester (end of approximately 10% of the academic term).
- Student may use my.csusm.edu or visit Cougar Central if assistance is required.
- No record of the course appears on student records.
- No signature approval required.
|After the Add/Drop deadline, and on or before the 19th day of the semester.
- Student may use my.csusm.edu or visit Cougar Central if assistance is required.
- A grade of “W” appears on student records.
- No signature approval required.
|After the 19th day of the semester, and on or before the last day of the twelfth week of the semester (end of approximately 80% of instruction).
- Student must demonstrate that the need to withdraw from the course is due to serious and compelling reasons beyond the student’s control, and that a grade of “I” (where acceptable to the instructor) is impractical, given these circumstances.
- See the withdrawal policy for examples of typical situations for which there is a serious and compelling justification for approving withdrawals, and for examples which do not meet the intent of “serious and compelling”.
- Reasons for withdrawal request must be verifiable; appropriate documentation is required.
- Course Instructor, Department Chair, and Dean/Director of the College/School offering the course (or designee) must sign the Course Withdrawal Form.
- After obtaining signature approval, student must submit the completed Course Withdrawal Form according to the instructions on the form.
- Given approval, a grade of “W” appears on student records, and the withdraw counts toward the maximum of 18 semester-units that undergraduate students may withdraw from during their undergraduate career at CSU San Marcos.
|Beyond the last day of the twelfth week of the semester (beyond the end of approximately 80% of instruction).
- Requests for withdrawals after the twelfth week of the semester are seldom granted.
- Withdrawals will be considered only for accident or serious physical or mental illness, or serious personal or family problems where the cause of the withdrawal is beyond the student’s control, and that a grade of “I” (where acceptable to the instructor) is impractical, given these circumstances.
- Extenuating circumstances must be presented which prevented the student from withdrawing by the end of the twelfth week of the semester; lack of awareness of the withdrawal procedure is not an extenuating circumstance.
- Reasons for withdrawal request and the extenuating circumstance must be verifiable; appropriate documentation is required.
- Course Instructor, Department Chair, and Dean/Director of the College/School offering the course (or designee), and the academic administrator appointed by the President to handle review of such requests must sign the Course Withdrawal Form.
- After obtaining signature approval, student must submit the completed Course Withdrawal Form according to the instructions on the form.
- Given approval, a grade of “W” appears on student records, but the withdrawal does not count toward the maximum of 18 semester-units that undergraduate students may withdraw from during their undergraduate career at CSU San Marcos.
* Deadlines are strictly enforced. Students wishing to petition for an exception to a deadline based on circumstances beyond their control may do so in writing on a petition form available in Cougar Central.
Withdrawals from Courses for Extenuating Circumstances
Complete Withdrawal for Medical Reasons: The University may allow a student to withdraw without academic penalty from all classes if the following criteria are met:
- A completed Withdrawal Form, including any required medical documentation, is submitted to Cougar Central before the end of the semester, and
- The student presents evidence to demonstrate that a severe medical or debilitating psychological condition prevented the student from attending and/or doing the required work of the courses to the extent that it was impossible to complete the courses.
A grade of “W” will be used for withdrawal from all courses for the term due to medical reasons, and will not be counted toward the maximum 18 units allowable for withdrawals.
Repeat Complete Medical Withdrawal: If the student has been granted a complete medical withdrawal in the preceding term, then additional medical withdrawal requests must consider the question of whether or not the student can complete appropriate educational objectives, and must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
After a repeat medical withdrawal is granted, the student may be required to obtain a clearance from an appropriate medical or psychological professional that states the student is well enough to return to classes with the full expectation that the student will be able to complete the semester and intended educational objectives.
Withdrawal Procedures for Students Mobilized for Active Military Duty: Students called for active military duty may withdraw from courses throughout the term without restriction or penalty with the appropriate documentation. For clarification of Veterans Administration policies on withdrawals, incompletes, course repeats, etc., please contact the veterans representative located in Cougar Central.
Cancellation of Registration or Withdrawal from the Institution
Students who find it necessary to cancel their registration or to withdraw from all classes after enrolling for any academic term are required to follow the University’s official withdrawal procedures. Failure to follow formal university procedures may result in an obligation to pay fees, as well as the assignment of failing grades in all courses and the need to apply for readmission before being permitted to enroll in another academic term. Information on cancelling registration and withdrawal procedures is available from Enrollment Management Services Operations at (760) 750-4814.
In addition, students must submit a complete Semester Drop or Complete Semester Withdrawal Form to Cougar Central (Forms are available at Cougar Central. Assistance is available in the Office of the Dean of Students). To obtain approval, students must obtain a series of clearances from various university offices, independent of permission to drop all classes.
Details of the drop and withdrawal process are outlined on the Semester Drop and Withdrawal Form, which may be obtained from Cougar Central and designated college locations.
Students who receive financial aid funds must consult with the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office prior to withdrawing from the University regarding any required return or repayment of grant or loan assistance received for that academic term or payment period. Students who have received financial aid and withdraw from the institution during the academic term or payment period may need to return or repay some or all of the funds received, which may result in a debt owed to the institution.
In extraordinary circumstances (including but not limited to serious illness, family emergency, call-up for military service, and other circumstances beyond the student’s control), students may petition for retroactive complete semester withdrawal.
Permission to withdraw from all classes retroactively must be obtained according to the procedures outlined in the final row of the chart above, and a completed form must also be submitted. Details of the retroactive withdrawal process are outlined on the Withdrawal Form.
On July 1, 2020, the United States Department of Education changed its definition of the student credit hour. Fundamentally, the change now shifts responsibility for credit hour compliance to the accreditation agency and/or to the state.
As such, the CSU’s accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), has published its own updated definition of student credit hour and related accreditation processes. The new regulations no longer require an accrediting agency to review an institution’s credit hour policy and procedures. It does require the WSCUC to review the institution’s definition of credit hour and (as a newly introduced practice) an institution’s processes and policies for ensuring the credit hour policy is followed.
The CSU credit hour definition is consistent with federal law (600.2 and 600.4 revised July 1, 2020) and the requirements of the WSCUC. The CSU defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in stated learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. Such evidence is an institutionally established equivalency that:
- Approximates not less than:
- One hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph 1.a. of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours; and
- Permits an institution, in determining the amount of work associated with a credit hour, to take into account a variety of delivery methods, measurements of student work, academic calendars, disciplines and degree levels. Institutions have the flexibility to award a greater number of credits for courses that require more student work.
As in the past, a credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute (not 60-minute) period. In some courses, such as those offered online, in which “seat time” does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.
For purposes of accreditation, all CSU campuses are required to develop, communicate and implement procedures for regular, periodic review of this credit hour policy to ensure that credit hour assignments are accurate, reliable and consistently applied. WSCUC published new draft guidelines that will take effect in June 2021. Campuses will be responsible (effective summer 2021) for publishing a clearly stated practice or process that ensures they are in compliance with the student credit hour definition.
Educational Leave of Absence
An undergraduate student who has exhausted his or her “out-one term” in the prior semester and who needs to remain un-enrolled for an additional semester may, under some circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, apply for an educational leave of absence. An undergraduate leave of absence may be granted for the following documented reasons:
- attendance at another accredited institution of higher learning, or
- the health condition of the student prohibits attendance, or
- military duty/deployment.
Requests for leave of absence must be documented and submitted to Cougar Central prior to the first day of classes for the semester requested.
Graduate students should refer to Graduate Student Leave of Absence .
Application for Graduation
Graduation is not automatic upon the completion of requirements. Students who intend to graduate must take the initiative to apply. Upon completion of 85 units, the student is eligible to file an application for graduation in Cougar Central or online in your MyCSUSM. The Registration Calendar each semester specifies the filing date.
The degree is granted upon completion of all requirements by the graduation date. Candidates for graduation are eligible to register for terms subsequent to the graduation date only if an application for readmission as a post-baccalaureate or graduate student has been filed with the Office of Admissions. Students not completing the requirements must reapply for graduation. Graduation requirements will be determined by the continuous enrollment regulations defined in this catalog. After the degree is granted, no changes can be made to the undergraduate record.
Students seeking a first baccalaureate degree who have earned 150 or more units and who have not yet graduated are considered to be “excess-units seniors” (exception: Nursing majors and Integrated Credential Program students are not subject to this policy). The records of such students will be reviewed and advising will be provided in order to facilitate their graduation. This may include such actions as
- Automatic graduation of students who have met all graduation requirements;
- Identification of possible course substitutions that would make it possible for students to graduate;
- Early priority registration for the purpose of being able to register in courses needed for graduation; and
- Additional advising and the development of a graduation plan that the student would be expected to follow.
Students choosing to appeal their automatic graduation must submit a Degree Conferral Appeal. The appeal must include a narrative statement elaborating how excess units were accumulated, their educational intent, and completion timelines. The appeal will be reviewed by a committee consisting of Dean or Designee from the College of the student’s major, a designated academic advisor from the student’s major, and an appropriate faculty representative from the student’s academic department/program.
Students with more than 130 attempted units may only change their majors if the change of major allows for graduation at a date no later than the earliest date possible with the current major. Similarly, students with more than 130 attempted units may only declare additional majors or minors if the additional majors or minors allow for graduation at a date no later than the earliest date possible with the first major. In these cases, approval from a staff advisor in Advising Services will be needed. Exceptions can be granted by an appropriate faculty advisor such as the department chair or designee.
Special Enrollment Situations
Cal State San Marcos provides opportunities for students to enroll concurrently at other colleges and universities. This privilege has some limitations, and students interested in concurrent enrollment should keep in mind that their study load in the proposed combined program may not exceed the maximum number of units authorized by this University for each term. Interested students should consult with their academic advisor before initiating concurrent enrollment procedures.
Enrollment Within the CSU System
Students enrolled at Cal State San Marcos may enroll concurrently at other CSU campuses. Such enrollment is at the discretion of authorities from both campuses. Applicants should satisfy the following requirements: (1) have completed at least one semester at Cal State San Marcos as a matriculated student and earned at least twelve  semester units, and (2) maintained a grade point average of 2.0 [C] in all work completed at the University, and be in good academic standing.
Enrollment Outside The CSU System
Students enrolled at Cal State San Marcos may enroll concurrently for additional courses at another institution outside The CSU system with advance approval from the student’s advisor. However, the study load in the proposed combined program of study may not exceed the maximum number of units authorized at this University.
Further information regarding concurrent enrollment and deadlines may be obtained from the Office of Registration and Records.
Enrollment as a Visitor
Cal State San Marcos encourages its students to experience a wide variety of teaching and learning environments. As a part of this emphasis, the University provides opportunities for students to visit other campuses in the CSU system. While on visitor status, Cal State San Marcos students are fully enrolled at the host campus. Since programs and courses may vary within the system, students are required to review their proposed course of study with their academic advisor.
Grading System and Policies
Grades are assigned in accordance with the following policies.
Definitions of Letter Grades
A (Excellent): Performance of the student has been at the highest level, showing sustained excellence in meeting all course objectives and exhibiting an unusual degree of intellectual initiative.
B (Good): Performance of the student has been at a high level, showing consistent and effective achievement in meeting course objectives.
C (Satisfactory): Performance of the student has been at an adequate level, meeting the basic objectives of the course.
D (Passing): Performance of the student has been less than adequate, meeting only the minimum course requirements.
F (Failing): Performance of the student has been such that minimum course requirements have not been met.
The use of plus/minus grading is not required. It is used at the discretion of the individual instructor. The following decimal values of plus/minus grades are used in the calculation of grade point averages:
A = 4.0
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C- = 1.7
D+ = 1.3
D = 1.0
D- = 0.7
F = 0
Courses are graded on an A through F basis, as described above, except those specifically designated as follows:
CR/NC (Credit/No Credit): Credit (CR) is awarded for grades equivalent to C or better. No credit (NC) is awarded for grades equivalent to C- or less.
With the exception of language courses taken in fulfillment of the Area C3 requirement, no General Education course taken at Cal State San Marcos may be taken with a Credit/No Credit option. A student may elect to take a maximum of fifteen (15) semester units at CSUSM with a Credit/No Credit option that may be applied toward an undergraduate degree. Grades of CR and NC are not included in the calculation of grade point averages.
When a student does not complete a course, and does not officially withdraw from it, the following grading symbols may be assigned by the faculty:
||Report in Progress
I (Incomplete Authorized): The I symbol indicates that a portion of required course work has not been completed and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. It is the responsibility of the student to bring pertinent information to the attention of the instructor and to determine from the instructor the remaining course requirements which must be satisfied to remove the Incomplete. The conditions for removal of the Incomplete shall be reduced to writing by the instructor and given to the student with a copy placed on file with the Registrar until the Incomplete is removed or the time limit for removal has passed. A final grade is assigned when the work agreed upon has been completed and evaluated.
An Incomplete Authorized must normally be made up within one calendar year immediately following the end of the term during which it was assigned. This limitation prevails whether or not the student maintains continuous enrollment. Failure to complete the assigned work will result in an I being converted to an IC symbol, unless the faculty member assigns a specific letter grade at the time the Incomplete is assigned, which would then replace the I in the student’s record after the calendar year deadline.
An Incomplete shall not be assigned when it is necessary for the student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered. A student may not re-enroll in a course for which he or she has received an I until that I has been converted to a grade other than I; e.g., A-F, IC.
RP (Report in Progress): The RP symbol is used in connection with courses that extend beyond one academic term. It indicates that work is in progress but that assignment of a final grade must await completion of additional work. Except for graduate degree theses and projects, work is to be completed within one calendar year immediately following the end of the term in which the RP was assigned. Failure to complete the coursework within the prescribed time period will result in the RP being changed to an F (or NC, if the class was taken for Credit/No Credit). In graduate thesis and project courses, the RP grade will not change to an F or NC until the student has exceeded the time-to-degree limit of the graduate program.
WU (Withdrawal Unauthorized): The symbol WU shall be used where a student, who is enrolled on the census date, does not officially withdraw from a course but stops attending or participating before the end of week 9 or the first 60% of the course. Its most common use is in those instances where a student has not completed sufficient course assignments or participated in sufficient course activity to make it possible, in the opinion of the instructor, to report satisfactory or unsatisfactory completion of the class by use of the letter grade (A-F). The instructor shall report the last known date of attendance by the student. If the last day of attendance is within the add/drop period, procedures for administrative course drop should be followed (see APC 295-08). If a WU grade is assigned, the last date of attendance should be between census and the end of week 9 or the first 60% of the course. If an F is used, the last date of attendance should be between week 10 and the last day or final exam of the course (or the last 40% of the course). The symbol WU shall be identified in the transcript legend and shall be counted as units attempted but not passed in computing the grade point average. In courses which are graded Credit/No Credit or in cases where the student has elected Credit/No Credit evaluation, use of the symbol WU is inappropriate and NC shall be used instead.
The following administrative grading symbols are assigned by the Office of Registration and Records:
AU (Audit): The AU symbol is used when a student audits a course. Enrollment as an auditor is subject to the permission of the instructor provided that enrollment in a course as an auditor shall be permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll on a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Auditors are subject to the same fee structure as credit students and regular class attendance is expected. Once enrolled as an auditor, a student may not change to credit status unless such a change is requested no later than the last day to add classes. A student who is enrolled for credit may not change to audit after the last day to add classes. An auditor is not permitted to take examinations in the course; therefore, there is no basis for evaluation or a formal grade.
IC (Incomplete Charged): The IC symbol is used when a student who received an authorized incomplete fails to complete the required coursework within the allowed time limit. The IC replaces the I and is counted as a failing grade for grade point average and progress point computation. Note that the IC is not used if the course was taken for Credit/No Credit or if the faculty member assigns a specific letter grade at the time the Incomplete is assigned (see Incomplete Authorized).
RD (Report Delayed): The RD symbol is assigned when the instructor has not reported a grade. It is replaced when the instructor assigns the grade. An RD is not included in the calculation of grade point averages.
W (Withdrawal): The W symbol indicates that the student was permitted to withdraw from the class after the add/drop deadline published in the Class Schedule with the approval of the instructor and appropriate campus officials. It carries no connotation of quality of student performance and is not used in calculating grade point average or progress points.
Before the 2002-2003 academic year, the following grading symbols were in use at Cal State San Marcos:
These symbols are no longer in use, but will still appear on transcripts indicating coursework completed prior to the start of the fall 2002 semester.
SP (Satisfactory Progress): The SP symbol is used in connection with courses whose work extends beyond one academic term. It indicates that work is in progress and that it has been evaluated and found to be satisfactory to date, but that assignment of a precise grade must await completion of additional work. Except for graduate degree theses and projects, work is to be completed within one calendar year immediately following the end of the term in which it was assigned. Failure to complete the additional work within the prescribed time period will result in the SP being changed to an F (or NC, if the class was taken for Credit/No Credit). In graduate thesis and project courses, the SP
grade will not change to an F or NC until the student has exceeded the time-to-degree limit of the graduate program.
U (Unauthorized Incomplete): The symbol U indicates that an enrolled student did not officially withdraw from the course and failed to complete course requirements. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities, or both, were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible. For purposes of grade point average, this symbol is equivalent to an F.
Grade Point Average
The grade point average (GPA) is a measure of academic scholarship and performance. The grade point average is computed by multiplying the number of units earned by the quality-point value of the grade assigned. The total quality points are then divided by the number of units attempted, subject to application of the Repeat of Undergraduate Courses policy described in this catalog.
A student’s overall GPA is based on the record of all baccalaureate-level or post-baccalaureate-level courses attempted by that student. A student’s institutional (or Cal State San Marcos) GPA is based on the record of all baccalaureate-level or post-baccalaureate-level courses attempted by that student at Cal State San Marcos. Some degree programs may require students to achieve a minimum GPA in courses applied toward major requirements, or a minimum grade in each of these courses.
Dean’s List Policy
To qualify for the undergraduate Dean’s List at the conclusion of a semester, the student must have completed a minimum of 12 units of graded Cal State San Marcos coursework (A, B, C, D, F) during that semester with at least a 3.50 grade point average.
The University recognizes the prerogative of the faculty to set standards of performance and to apply them to individual students. The University will seek to correct injustices to students, but at the same time, believes that the instructor’s judgment at the time the original grade is assigned is better than a later reconsideration of an individual case. Equity to all students is of fundamental concern. The following policies apply to changes of grades, except for changes of Incomplete Authorized and Unauthorized Incomplete symbols.
- In general, all course grades are final when filed by the instructor in the end-of-term course grade report. Students may obtain their grades through my.csusm.edu system. These grades become a part of the official record.
- A change of grade may occur only in cases of clerical error or where the instructor reevaluates the original course assignments of a student and discovers an error in the original evaluation. A clerical error is an error made by the instructor or an assistant in calculating or recording the grade. A change of grade shall not occur as a consequence of the acceptance of additional work or re-examination beyond the specified course requirements.
- A request for a change of grade shall be initiated by the student affected and shall be directed to the instructor. A student must initiate contact with the instructor during the first couple of weeks of classes of the regular semester following the award of the grade. If the instructor determines that there is a valid basis for the change, a Change of Grade form shall be used to notify the Office of Enrollment Management Services Operations. Forms are not to be handled by the student. If the instructor determines that there is not a valid basis for the change, and denies the student’s request, the instructor’s decision can be appealed to the instructor’s Department Chair and then the appropriate College Dean. Meetings with the instructor of record, Department Chair, and College Dean are considered a part of the informal resolution process in a grade appeal. If resolution is not met through these channels, the decision can be appealed to the Student Grade Appeal Committee in cases where the student believes a grade was issued on the basis of capricious or prejudicial treatment by the instructor. If a student decides to file a formal grade appeal, the grade appeal must be submitted electronically and received by the university no later than March 29 (for courses taken during the previous Fall semester) or October 29 (for Spring and Summer semesters).
Students who decide to file a formal grade appeal must review and follow the Grade Appeal Policy at https://www.csusm.edu/policies/active/documents/student_grade_appeals.html
Course Repeat and GPA Adjustment
GPA Adjustment: The repetition of a course for either Grade Forgiveness or Grade Averaging.
Grade Forgiveness: The repetition of a course for the sake of improving upon an earlier unsatisfactory performance in which the new grade replaces the old grade in the calculation of the student’s grade point average (GPA).
Grade Averaging: The repetition of a course for the sake of improving upon an earlier unsatisfactory performance in which the new grade does not replace the old grade(s) in the calculation of the student’s GPA, and instead all grades are used in the GPA calculation. Courses are repeated for Grade Averaging after the limit of repetitions for Grade Forgiveness has been exhausted.
A. Which Initial Course Grades May Be Adjusted?
- This policy applies only to courses taken at CSUSM and repeated at CSUSM. A course repeated at another institution will not be used to adjust the CSUSM resident GPA but will affect the overall GPA and may be used to meet degree requirements.
- Only courses in which students earned grades of C-, D+, D, D-, F, WU or IC may be repeated for GPA Adjustment.
- If a student completes a course with a grade of “C” or better, or a grade of “CR” and wishes to register for the course again only to refresh knowledge, then the student may do so but only by enrolling with an audit and, therefore, not for grade adjustment. In exceptional circumstances where a student needs to repeat such a course for a letter grade, permission must be obtained from the Registrar and Dean of Undergraduate Studies. The registrar must notify Academic Advising in these cases.
- Students will be administratively dropped from courses for which the student has earned a grade of “C” or better, “CR,” or a grade of “I.” This situation occurs when a student has registered to repeat a course before the grade in the original enrollment has been recorded.
- Courses designated as “may be repeated” (except as designated as such in their university catalog course description) can be repeated only for GPA adjustment through the special process set forth in section II.B.3. Courses designated as “may be repeated” in their university catalog course descriptions refer to courses that may be repeated regardless of the prior grade.
- Students may not use the credit received through a credit by challenge examination as a repetition of a regularly enrolled course.
- A student may repeat a course with a credit/no credit option, or for a letter grade, if they had received a prior grade of “NC.”
B. Which Subsequent Courses May Adjust the Initial Course Grades?
In general, students must retake the initial course when seeking GPA Adjustment. (For purposes of GPA adjustment, a repeated course is considered equivalent to the initial course if the only alteration to the course is its name and/or course number, e.g., when a special topics offering becomes a regular course).
Three exceptions to this rule follow:
- Only with prior approval of the chair/coordinator of the department/program offering the initial course, may a student enroll in an alternative course, for GPA adjustment, if:
- the initial course is no longer offered by CSUSM (has been inactivated or removed from the University Catalog); or,
- a student who will be in their final semester is unable to repeat a course.
There is no guarantee that an alternative course may exist in the desired term. Such an alternative course should have similar content and be offered at the same level (lower-division, upper-division, or graduate level). In cases where the initial course carried a different number of units than the course that will be replacing it, the number of units earned and calculated will be based on the new course.
- Courses designated in the catalog as “May be repeated” can be repeated up to the maximum indicated in the course description and all grades received will be included in the calculation of the grade point average. Students may petition the chair/director of the department/program/school offering the course to have a subsequent attempt of such a course used for GPA Adjustment. When such a course is repeated for GPA Adjustment, the completion of the course will not result in the earning of additional units of credit.
- Postbaccalaureate students may be permitted to repeat a course taken as an undergraduate. However, the grade earned shall not replace the grade in the undergraduate records.
C. Which Course Grades Are Forgiven, and Which Course Grades Are Averaged?
- Upon completion of grades, the student system will automatically identify all repeated courses and apply Grade Forgiveness and Grade Averaging.
- Students may see on their transcripts which courses have been selected for Grade Forgiveness and Grade Averaging. Students who believe that they would be better served by a different choice of grade-forgiven courses may submit a request to the Registrar to have a repeat with forgiveness transferred from one course to a different course. These requests must be made prior to graduation.
- Grade Forgiveness shall not be applicable to courses for which the original grade was the result of a finding of academic dishonesty by the Dean of Students. In a finding of academic dishonesty, courses may be repeated for Grade Averaging.
D. GPA Adjustment Limits:
- Except in unusual circumstances, no course may be repeated more than two times. (See II.E. for a petition process).
- A maximum of 16 semester units of Course Repeats can be used for Grade Forgiveness. With regard to the limits on repeats, all such running totals begin at zero (0) at the beginning of the Fall term of 2009. There are no exceptions to the Overall Grade Forgiveness Limit.
- A maximum of 12 additional semester units (beyond the 16 units that may be repeated for Grade Forgiveness) may be repeated for Grade Averaging. With regard to the limits on repeats, all such running totals begin at zero (0) at the beginning of the Fall term of 2009. When a course is repeated for Grade Averaging, both the new grade and the former grade(s) enter into the GPA calculation.
- Limits on repeated courses apply to courses taken in matriculated status as well as coursework completed via self support, e.g., extended learning, open university, etc.
E. Petition Process for Exceeding the Individual Course Repeat Limit and/or the Overall Grade Averaging Limit
A student who is in good standing may file a written petition with the Dean of the College of their major to repeat upper-division courses required for their major for Grade Averaging for a third repeat and/or beyond the 12 units repeated for Grade Averaging. This petition process does not apply to lower-division courses; students wishing to repeat a lower-division course for a third repeat and/or beyond the 12 units repeated for Grade Averaging may consider other options such as transfer coursework.
In this petition the student must:
- provide a detailed explanation as to why they failed the course(s) being petitioned; and,
- provide a clear and convincing plan indicating how they plan to pass the course(s) on their next attempt.
The final decision on the petition is made by the college dean or designee in consultation with the chair(s)/director(s) of the department(s)/programs(s)/school(s) offering the course(s). If the petition is approved, the repeats are considered to be for Grade Averaging.
All grades for a given course, regardless of whether it is retaken for Grade Forgiveness or Grade Averaging, will be maintained as a part of the student record and will appear on the student’s transcript, but, the student may earn credit toward the baccalaureate degree only once for that course.
Students should be aware that other institutions (e.g., medical schools, graduate programs, law schools) might use the forgiven grades in grade point computations.
G. Right to Impose Stricter Requirements
Academic units such as colleges and departments have the right to impose stricter requirements than those described in this policy on repeats of courses under their purview.
Undergraduate Probation, Disqualification, and Reinstatement
An undergraduate student will be placed on academic probation if, during any academic term, the overall GPA or the cumulative Cal State San Marcos GPA falls below 2.0 (a C average). The student shall be advised of probation status promptly. An undergraduate student shall be removed from academic probation when the overall GPA and the cumulative Cal State San Marcos are both 2.0 or higher.
A student may also be placed on administrative probation by the Office of the Registrar for any of the following reasons:
- Withdrawal from all or a substantial portion of a program of studies in two successive terms or in any three terms. (Note: A student whose withdrawal is directly associated with a chronic or recurring medical condition or its treatment is not to be subject to administrative probation for such withdrawal.)
- Repeated failure to progress toward the stated degree objective or other program objective, including that resulting from assignment of 15 units of NC (No Credit), when such failure appears to be due to circumstances within the control of the student.
- Failure to comply, after due notice, with an academic requirement or regulation, as defined by campus policy which is routine for all students or a defined group of students (examples: failure to complete a required CSU or campus examination, failure to complete a required practicum, failure to comply with professional standards appropriate to the field of study, failure to complete a specified number of units as a condition for receiving student financial aid or making satisfactory progress in the academic program).
Notification of Academic Probation and Administrative Probation
The student shall be notified in writing by the Office of the Registrar prior to the beginning of the next term of their probation status, and shall be provided with the conditions for removal from probation along with circumstances that would lead to disqualification, should probation not be removed.
Undergraduate students on academic probation shall be subject to academic disqualification when:
- As a freshman (less than 30 semester units completed) the student falls below a grade point average of 1.50 in all units attempted or in all units attempted at CSUSM;
- As a sophomore (30-59 semester units completed) the student falls below a grade point average of 1.70 in all units attempted or in all units attempted at CSUSM;
- As a junior (60-89 semester units completed) the student falls below a grade point average of 1.85 in all units attempted or in all units attempted at CSUSM; or
- As a senior (90 or more semester units completed) the student falls below a grade point average of 1.95 in all units attempted or in all units attempted at CSUSM.
Academic Disqualification of Students not on Probation
Undergraduate students not on academic probation shall be disqualified when:
At the end of any term, the student has a cumulative grade point average below 1.0 (a grade of D), and
The cumulative grade point average is so low that it is unlikely, in light of their overall education record, that the deficiency will be removed in a reasonable period.
An undergraduate student who has been placed on administrative probation may be disqualified if any of the following occur:
The conditions for removal of administrative probation are not met within the period specified.
The student becomes subject to academic probation while on administrative probation.
The student becomes subject to administrative probation for the same or similar reason that the student has previously been placed on administrative probation, although the student is not currently in such status.
When such action is taken, the student shall receive written notification including an explanation of the basis for the action.
Special Cases of Administrative Disqualification
In addition, an appropriate campus administrator, in consultation with the Office of the Registrar, may disqualify a student who at any time during enrollment has demonstrated behavior so contrary to the standards of the profession for which the student is preparing as to render them unfit for the profession. In such cases, disqualification will occur immediately upon notice to the student, which shall include an explanation of the basis for the action, and the campus may require the student to discontinue enrollment as of the date of the notification.
Consequences of Disqualification
Students who have been disqualified, either academically or administratively, may not enroll in any regular campus session (e.g., open university) without permission from the Office of the Registrar and may be denied admission to other educational programs operated or sponsored by the University.`
Notification of Academic Disqualification and Administrative Disqualification
Students who are academically or administratively disqualified at the end of an enrollment period shall be notified by the Office of the Registrar before the beginning of the next consecutive regular enrollment period. Students disqualified at the beginning of a summer enrollment break should be notified at least one month before the start of the fall term. In cases where a student ordinarily would be disqualified at the end of a term, save for the fact that it is not possible to make timely notification, the student may be advised that the disqualification is to be effective at the end of the next term. Such notification should include any conditions that, if met, would result in permission to continue in enrollment. Failure to notify students does not create the right of a student to continue enrollment.
Students who have been disqualified, either academically or administratively, may petition for reinstatement. Reinstatement must be based upon evidence that the causes of previous low achievement have been removed. Reinstatement will be approved only if compelling evidence is provided, indicating their ability to complete the degree program. Petitions are reviewed by the Office of the Dean of the college of the student’s major program, or, in the case of undeclared majors, the Office of the Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences. The review must consider the probable impact of any medical condition on previous unsatisfactory academic performance. Students who petition for reinstatement and have not attended for more than one regular term must also apply for admission to the University, meeting all deadlines and requirements for admissions eligibility.
Credit by Challenge Examination
A student may elect to receive credit for a course by challenge examination for any course approved by the academic discipline as a course eligible for challenge. The following restrictions and procedures apply:
- Students must register for a Credit by Challenge Examination by printing a form available on the Registration and Records website (http://www.csusm.edu/enroll/allforms/index.html) and taking this to the Department Office of the department offering the course (COBA advisors for Business Administration courses) by the end of the fifth day of classes in the semester.
- Credit is recorded on the student transcript as awarded in the semester following the successful challenge of a course. Students challenging courses in the Spring Semester have the option of having the credit reported in either the Summer Session or the Fall Semester, but must specify on the form requesting the examination whether they want to have the credit recorded during the Summer session or the Fall semester. Students must pay all applicable University fees for the term in which the credit is reported on the transcript. The successfully challenged course is included in determining all fees, including the State University Fee.
- Examinations are scheduled to take place early each semester. Students will receive their results prior to the beginning of the Registration period for the next term.
- Successful challenge of a course will result in a grade of Credit. Successfully challenged courses do not count against the limit on the number of courses that may be taken for a grade of Credit/No Credit and can be applied to major requirements with the approval of the major department.
- Credit by examination may not be used to fulfill the residency requirement. (Title 5, §40403)
- A student must demonstrate competency in writing skills as part of the challenge examination.
- Students may not challenge courses under the following circumstances:
- Students may not challenge courses in which they are currently enrolled.
- A student may not elect to challenge a course for which any grade (including “U”,”F”, “WU”, “IC”, “NC”, or “AU”) was received in a previous semester, for which academic renewal has been granted, or for which a prior challenge has been unsuccessful.
- A student may not challenge a course that is listed in the catalog as a prerequisite for a course in which academic credit has already been granted. Students who successfully complete the challenge exam for a course for which the challenge was prohibited (as detailed above) will not receive credit.
- Courses cannot be challenged to fulfill upper division General Education requirements.
The following courses are approved for credit by challenge examination at the time of the catalog printing:
Check http://www.csusm.edu/academic_programs/catalogcurricula/creditbychallengeexam.html for any additions to this list.
Academic Renewal Policy
A student whose graduation will be delayed by a grade point average deficiency may petition to have up to two semesters or three quarters of undergraduate coursework taken at any institution disregarded from all considerations associated with requirements for the baccalaureate degree. All coursework attempted during the term(s) approved for academic renewal will be disregarded in computing the student’s cumulative GPA. In addition, any coursework successfully completed during term(s) approved for academic renewal will no longer count toward fulfillment of any degree requirements. Students may not selectively eliminate coursework. When such action is taken, the student’s permanent academic record is annotated so that it is readily evident to the users of the record that no work taken during the disregarded term(s), even if satisfactory, has been applied towards the meeting of degree requirements. The record will show the adjusted grade point average, but all coursework will remain legible on the transcripts.
If another institution has acted to remove coursework from consideration, such action shall be honored in terms of that institution’s policy. But, elimination of any coursework’s consideration shall reduce by one term the two semester maximum on the application of academic renewal to an individual CSU student’s record.
Academic renewal is intended only to facilitate graduation from Cal State San Marcos. It does not apply to individuals who already possess a baccalaureate degree or who are able to meet graduation requirements in a timely manner without the approval of a petition for academic renewal.
To qualify for academic renewal, a student must meet all of the following conditions:
- The student has formally requested such action and presented evidence that substantiates that the work in question is not representative of the student’s current academic ability and/or performance level.
- The previous level of performance was due to extenuating circumstances.
- All degree requirements except the earning of at least a “C” (2.0) grade point average have or will soon have been met.
- The student must present evidence that if the petition is not approved the student will be required to enroll in additional course work involving one or more additional terms to qualify for the degree.
- At least five years must have elapsed since the term or terms to be disregarded.
- Since the most recent work to be disregarded, the student must have achieved the following academic record at Cal State San Marcos:
– at least 15 semester units with a GPA of 3.00 or higher
– at least 30 semester units with a GPA of 2.50 or higher
– at least 45 semester units with a GPA of 2.00 or higher
Petitions for academic renewal are obtained from and submitted to the Office of Registration and Records. Final decisions on petitions shall be based on careful review of evidence by a committee appointed by the president, which shall include the designee of the Provost and consist of at least three faculty members.
Administrative Academic Disqualification
An undergraduate or graduate student may also be placed on probation or may be disqualified by the Registrar for unsatisfactory scholastic progress, regardless of cumulative grade point average or progress points. Such actions shall be limited to unsatisfactory scholastic progress arising from repeated withdrawal, failure to progress toward an educational objective, and noncompliance with an academic requirement, and shall be consistent with guidelines issued by the Chancellor of The California State University.
Graduation with Honors
The following grade-point average (GPA) criteria are used to identify undergraduate students eligible for the honors earned with the first baccalaureate degree:
Cum Laude – at least 3.5, but less than 3.7
Magna Cum Laude – at least 3.7, but less than 3.9
Summa Cum Laude – at least 3.9
The GPA used to determine graduation with honors is the lower of the institutional (i.e., CSUSM) GPA and the Overall GPA (which includes baccalaureate-level transfer courses) when the degree is awarded. Second baccalaureate degree candidates are not eligible for Honors at Graduation.
Latin honors will be noted on the diploma and transcript.
Recognition at Commencement
Students who complete their graduation requirements in the fall semester prior to Commencement will have their GPAs determined before the Commencement program is printed and their designated honors will be identified in the program.
Students who complete their graduation requirements in the spring or summer will not have their final GPAs determined until after Commencement. In order to recognize these students at Commencement, honors will be based on coursework completed before the semester of the commencement ceremony. The final honor is determined when the degree is awarded.
Sealed Academic Record
After a student has graduated, the academic record is sealed and no further changes, additions, adjustments, or amendments will be considered other than corrections of data-entry errors. Students are advised to verify all appropriate grade changes, GPA adjustments, and academic renewal petitions, have been filed and processed prior to applying for graduation.
Other Academic Policies
Education depends upon the free expression and exchange of ideas in the search for truth. Academic freedom is the freedom to express any view, popular or unpopular, and to defend that point of view in open exchange. The University supports freedom of speech, inquiry, and expression for all members of its faculty, students, and staff in both curricular and co-curricular activities. All members of the Cal State San Marcos faculty shall have full academic freedom, and the University endorses the general principles of academic freedom outlined in the AAUP Statement (1940) of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure.
The principles of academic freedom require their application to both teaching and research. Research cannot fulfill its fundamental purpose of advancing knowledge unless it is done in an environment supportive of academic freedom. Academic freedom is essential to the classroom, as a protection of the rights of the teacher and of the student. All those engaged in research are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of results, legal requirements, and recognized standards of their profession. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in presenting material related to the content of the course, but shall refrain from insisting that students or others accept any controversial point of view as authoritative.
Cal State San Marcos members have the right to speak and write as citizens in any forum, free from institutional censorship or discipline. However, they should apply the best standards of their profession and make every effort to indicate that they are speaking as individuals and not as representatives of the University. As members of the academic community, they should also remember that freedom of expression and thought equally carry with them certain duties and obligations. Academic freedom does not extend, for example, to any kind of abuse or infringement of the rights of others. Academic freedom focuses on the obligation to ask difficult and meaningful questions and to pursue the truths of those inquiries wherever the pursuit of truth leads. Academic freedom must not be trivialized nor equated with other freedoms of expression important and constitutionally guaranteed.
Each student shall maintain academic honesty in the conduct of his or her studies and other learning activities at CSUSM. The integrity of this academic institution, and the quality of the education provided in its degree programs, are based on the principle of academic honesty.
The maintenance of academic integrity and quality education is the responsibility of each student within this university and the California State University system. Cheating and plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus is listed in Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, as an offense for which a student may be expelled, suspended, put on probation, or given a less severe disciplinary sanction.
- Student Responsibilities
- Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules of Academic Honesty as outlined in the university catalog, to include fabricating information and data, cheating, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarizing.
- Students are responsible for communicating with the professor if they do not understand how the policy applies to a particular class or assignment. Students are responsible for utilizing the library resources (e.g. the plagiarism tutorial, consulting a librarian, or referring to a style guide) on academic honesty and plagiarism to fully understand the differences between a citation, giving credit, original writing, and plagiarism.
- Faculty Responsibilities
- Faculty must report all incidents of student dishonesty and the actions taken to the Office of the Dean of Students.
The reporting must include:
- Student name
- Student ID number as it appears on the class roster
- Class Code, CRN, and Semester taken
- The issues of dishonesty that occurred
- The actions or consequences taken by the professor
- Each faculty should include a statement on Academic Honesty in their syllabi such as:
Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student Academic Honesty Policy. All assignments must be original work, clear and error-free. All ideas/material that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources. Any quoted material should give credit to the source and be punctuated accordingly.
Academic Honesty and Integrity: Students are responsible for honest completion and representation of their work. Your course catalog details the ethical standards and penalties for infractions. There will be zero tolerance for infractions. If you believe there has been an infraction by someone in the class, please bring it to the instructor’s attention. The instructor reserves the right to discipline any student for academic dishonesty, in accordance with the general rules and regulations of the university. Disciplinary action may include the lowering of grades and/or the assignment of a failing grade for an exam, assignment, or the class as a whole.
- Faculty should keep accurate records and documents regarding the case and their own resolution and consequences for one year from the end of the term.
- Faculty should have a discussion of academic honesty, expectations, and consequences within the first two or three class meetings in order to maintain consistency and uniformity with all classes and students.
- Faculty are encouraged to include creative assignments that require original thought in order to reduce the incidents of student dishonesty.
- Faculty have the ultimate responsibility and discretion when grading students who have been dishonest in class; however, faculty also have the responsibility to be fair and equitable to all students within the same class. Therefore, consequences for similar offenses must be consistent.
- Grading Policy: It is suggested that each faculty member have a consistent grading policy which will be applied in all cases of academic dishonesty. For example, if an assignment where a student is caught cheating is worth more than 15% of the grade, the student may receive a “FAIL” in the class. If the assignment is worth less than 15%, then the assignment can be given a grade of “0.”
- Administrative Responsibilities:
- Administrators are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules of Academic Honesty to include fabrication, cheating, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism and to take administrative action where necessary.
- Administrators should facilitate a discussion of Academic Honesty at student orientation to ensure that all students are aware of the Academic Honesty issues on campus and how they will be dealt with.
- The Dean of Students shall provide a report each semester to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate to include aggregated data for that semester which includes the number and type of cases reported and the disciplinary actions taken.
- Student Sanctions
Student sanctions, imposed by the Dean of Students, for violations to the academic honesty policy can include any of the following:
- Disciplinary Probation
Academic dishonesty is an especially serious offense. It diminishes the quality of scholarship and defrauds those who depend upon the integrity of the campus programs. Such dishonesty includes the following.
- Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials,
information, or study aids in any academic exercise.
- Faculty members are strongly encouraged to make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct. This includes adequate communication of expectations about what kinds of collaboration are acceptable within the course. Instructors should state in course syllabi their policies and procedures concerning examinations and other academic exercises as well as the use before examinations of shared study aids, examination files, and other related materials and forms of assistance.
- Students completing any examination should assume that external assistance (e.g., books, notes, calculators, conversation with others) is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the instructor.
- Students must not allow others to conduct research or prepare any work for them without advance authorization from the instructor. This comment includes, but is not limited to, the services of commercial term paper companies.
- Students who are required to do a paper in a course should assume that submitting the same or similar paper to different courses (regardless of whether it is in the same semester or in different semesters) is not permitted without the explicit permission of the instructors of both courses.
- Fabrication: Falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise.
- “Invented” information may not be used in any laboratory experiment or other academic exercise without notice to and authorization from the instructor. It would be improper, for example, to analyze one sample in an experiment and covertly “invent” data based on the single experiment for several more required analyses.
- One must use/acknowledge the actual source from which cited information was obtained. For example, a student may not reproduce sections from a book review and indicate that the section was obtained from the book itself.
- Students who attempt to alter and resubmit returned academic work with intent to defraud the faculty member will be in violation of this section. For example, a student may not change an answer on a returned exam and then claim that they deserve additional credit.
- Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
- For example, a student who knowingly allowed copying from his or her paper during an examination would be in violation of this section.
- Providing information about the contents of an examination to a student who will later take the examination, or taking an examination on behalf of another student, are violations of academic honesty.
For more information and resources, visit the Office of the Dean of Students web site at: www.csusm.edu/dos.
- Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the words, ideas, or work of another as one’s own in any academic exercise, including:
- the act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another’s work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one’s own work;
- the act of putting one’s name as an author on a group project to which no contribution was actually made; and
- representing another’s artistic/scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, or similar works as one’s own.
- Direct Quotation: Direct Quotation: Every direct quote must be identified by quotation marks, or by appropriate indentation or by other means of identification, and must be properly cited with author(s) name(s), year of publication, page number(s), footnotes and/or endnotes, depending on the citation style used. Proper citation style for academic writing is outlined by such manuals as the MLA handbook for writers of research papers, APA: Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, or Chicago manual of style.
- Paraphrase: Prompt acknowledgment is required when material from another source is paraphrased or summarized in whole or in part in one’s own words. To acknowledge a paraphrase properly, one might state: “to paraphrase Locke’s comment…” and conclude with a citation identifying the exact reference. A citation acknowledging only a directly quoted statement does not suffice to notify the reader of any preceding or succeeding paraphrased material.
- Borrowed Facts or Information: Borrowed Facts or Information: Information obtained in one’s reading or research which is not common knowledge among students in the course must be acknowledged. Examples of common knowledge might include the names of leaders of prominent nations, basic scientific laws, etc.
- Material which contributes only to the student’s general understanding of the subject may be acknowledged in the bibliography and need not be immediately cited. One citation is usually sufficient to acknowledge indebtedness when a number of connected sentences in the paper draw their special information from one source. When direct quotations are used, however, quotation format must be used and prompt acknowledgment is required. Inquiries and assistance in reporting student misconduct is available through the Office of the Dean of Students, Coordinator, University Student Conduct.
Technology Use at CSUSM
Students at Cal State San Marcos are required to use a variety of technologies in order to complete their coursework. Such technologies can be accessed in the open access lab (KEL 2000) and also via CougarApps, which allows access to the campus computer lab environment from anywhere at any time, via the internet. For more information about CougarApps, visit http://www.csusm.edu/iits/support/cougarapps.
Students are required to comply with CSU wide and campus responsible use policies. These can be found at http://www.csusm.edu/security/program/policiesandstandards/rups.html.
The Student Technology Help Desk (STH) provides technical support for students. STH hours and types of assistance are detailed at http://www.csusm.edu/iits/students. Degree programs may have specific technology skills requirements. Students are expected to inquire with faculty and/or advisors to identify these requirements and seek out assistance if needed.
Course expectations and requirements will be communicated in the course syllabus, which will be made available to students no later than the first class meeting, and which will be placed on file in the program/department office and/or the Dean’s office, by the fourth week of classes. Each syllabus will also contain a statement on the instructor’s scheduled office hours.
Student achievement shall be evaluated in all courses. Students shall be fully informed of the manner of their evaluations as well as the requirements and major assignments within the first three weeks of each semester. One method of summative evaluation is a final examination. If a final is given, it must be held at the time scheduled by the University, unless it is a take home exam, in which case it shall be due no earlier than the day and time scheduled for the final exam for the class. Once established, the scheduled day and time for a final exam may not be changed unless approved by the dean of the college. No make up final examination will be given except for reason of illness or other verified emergency. An instructor may not shorten the academic semester by scheduling an in class final exam in lieu of a final exam before the week scheduled for the final. The dean of each college shall be responsible for ensuring that this policy is followed.
Privacy Rights of Students in Education Records (FERPA)
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. 1232g) and regulations adopted thereunder (34 C.F.R. 99) set out requirements designed to protect students’ privacy in their records maintained by the campus. The statute and regulations govern access to certain student records maintained by the campus, and the release of such records. FERPA provides that the campus must give students access to most records directly related to the student, and must also provide opportunity for a hearing to correct the records if the student claims they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. The right to a hearing under this law does not include any right to challenge the appropriateness of a grade determined by the instructor. FERPA generally requires the campus obtain a student’s written consent before releasing personally identifiable data pertaining to the student.
Cal State San Marcos has adopted a set of policies and procedures governing implementation of FERPA and the regulations. Copies of these policies and procedures may be obtained at the Office of the Registrar in Cougar Central, CRAVEN 3700. Among the information included in the campus statement of policies and procedures is: (1) the student records maintained and the information they contain; (2) the campus official responsible for maintaining each type of record; (3) the location of access lists indicating persons requesting or receiving information from the record; (4) policies for reviewing and expunging records; (5) student access rights to their records; (6) procedure for challenging the content of student records; (7) the student’s right to file a complaint with the Department of Education. The Department of Education has established an office and review board to investigate complaints and adjudicate violations. The designated office is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-5920.
FERPA authorizes the campus to release “directory information” pertaining to students. “Directory information” may include the student’s name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status, degrees, honors, and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.
CSUSM defines the following items as directory information:
- Student’s name
- Assigned university e-mail address
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Full-time or part-time status
- Degrees, awards, and honors received
- Dates degrees conferred
The campus may release this “directory information” at any time unless the campus has received prior written objection from the student specifying the information the student requests not be released. Written objections may be sent to the Office of the Registrar in Cougar Central, CRAVEN 3700.
The campus is authorized to provide access to student records to campus officials and employees who have legitimate educational interests in such access. These persons have responsibilities in the campus’s academic, administrative or service functions and have reason for accessing student records associated with their campus or other related academic responsibilities. Student records will be disclosed to the CSU Chancellor’s Office to conduct research, to analyze trends, or to provide other administrative services on behalf of the CSU. Student records may also be disclosed to other persons or organizations under certain conditions (e.g., as part of the accreditation or program evaluation; in response to a court order or subpoena; in connection with financial aid; or to other institutions to which the student is transferring).
Title 5, California Code of Regulations, § 41301. Standards for Student Conduct
Campus Community Values
The University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the campus community should choose behaviors that contribute toward this end. Students are expected to be good citizens and to engage in responsible behaviors that reflect well upon their university, to be civil to one another and to others in the campus community, and contribute positively to student and university life.
Grounds for Student Discipline
Student behavior that is not consistent with the Student Conduct Code is addressed through an educational process that is designed to promote safety and good citizenship and, when necessary, impose appropriate consequences. The following are the grounds upon which student discipline can be based:
- Dishonesty, including:
A. Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty that are intended to gain unfair academic advantage.
B. Furnishing false information to a university official, faculty member, or campus office.
C. Forgery, alteration, or misuse of a university document, key, or identification instrument.
D. Misrepresenting one’s self to be an authorized agent of the University or one of its auxiliaries.
- Unauthorized entry into, presence in, use of, or misuse of university property.
- Willful, material and substantial disruption or obstruction of a university-related activity, or any on-campus activity.
- Participating in an activity that substantially and materially disrupts the normal operations of the University, or infringes on the rights of members of the University community.
- Willful, material and substantial obstruction of the free flow of pedestrian or other traffic, on or leading to campus property or an off-campus university related activity.
- Disorderly, lewd, indecent, or obscene behavior at a university related activity, or directed toward a member of the University community.
- Conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person within or related to the University community, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, or sexual misconduct.
- Hazing or conspiracy to haze. Hazing is defined as any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university or other educational institution in this state (Penal Code 245.6), and in addition, any act likely to cause physical harm, personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm, to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university or other educational institution. The term “hazing” does not include customary athletic events or school sanctioned events. Neither the express or implied consent of a victim of hazing, nor the lack of active participation in a particular hazing incident is a defense. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not a neutral act, and is also a violation of this section.
- Use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of illegal drugs or drug- related paraphernalia, (except as expressly permitted by law and university regulations) or the misuse of legal pharmaceutical drugs.
- Use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of alcoholic beverages (except as expressly permitted by law and University regulations), or public intoxication while on campus or at a university related activity.
- Theft of property or services from the University community, or misappropriation of university resources.
- Unauthorized destruction or damage to University property or other property in the University community.
- Possession or misuse of firearms or guns, replicas, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, knives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals (without the prior authorization of the campus president) on campus or at a university related activity.
- Unauthorized recording, dissemination, or publication of academic presentations (including handwritten notes) for a commercial purpose.
- Misuse of computer facilities or resources, including:
- Unauthorized entry into a file, for any purpose.
- Unauthorized transfer of a file.
- Use of another’s identification or password.
- Use of computing facilities, campus network, or other resources to interfere with the work of another member of the University community.
- Use of computing facilities and resources to send obscene or intimidating and abusive messages.
- Use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with normal university operations.
- Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws.
- Violation of a campus computer use policy.
- Violation of any published university policy, rule, regulation or presidential order.
- Failure to comply with directions or interference with, any University official or any public safety officer while acting in the performance of his/her duties.
- Any act chargeable as a violation of a federal, state, or local law that poses a substantial threat to the safety or well-being of members of the University community, to property within the University community or poses a significant threat of disruption or interference with university operations.
19. Violation of the Student Conduct Procedures, including:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information related to a student discipline matter.
- Disruption or interference with the orderly progress of a student discipline proceeding.
- Initiation of a student discipline proceeding in bad faith.
- Attempting to discourage another from participating in the student discipline matter.
- Attempting to influence the impartiality of any participant in a student discipline matter.
- Verbal or physical harassment or intimidation of any participant in a student discipline matter.
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed under a student discipline proceeding.
20. Encouraging, permitting, or assisting another to do any act that could subject him or her to discipline.
Procedures for Enforcing This Code
The Chancellor shall adopt procedures to ensure students are afforded appropriate notice and an opportunity to be heard before the University imposes any sanction for a violation of the Student Conduct Code. [Note: At the time of publication, such procedures are set forth in California State University Executive Order 1098 (Revised June 23, 2015), available at http://calstate.edu/eo/EO-1098-rev-6-23-15.html.]
Application of This Code
Sanctions for the conduct listed above can be imposed on applicants, enrolled students, students between academic terms, graduates awaiting degrees, and students who withdraw from school while a disciplinary matter is pending. Conduct that threatens the safety or security of the campus community, or substantially disrupts the functions or operation of the University is within the jurisdiction of this Article regardless of whether it occurs on or off campus. Nothing in this Code may conflict with Education Code Section 66301 that prohibits disciplinary action against students based on behavior protected by the First Amendment.
Title 5, California Code Of Regulations, § 41302. Disposition of Fees: Campus Emergency; Interim Suspension.
The President of the campus may place on probation, suspend, or expel a student for one or more of the causes enumerated in Section 41301. No fees or tuition paid by or for such student for the semester, quarter, or summer session in which he or she is suspended or expelled shall be refunded. If the student is readmitted before the close of the semester, quarter, or summer session in which he or she is suspended, no additional tuition or fees shall be required of the student on account of the suspension.
During periods of campus emergency, as determined by the President of the individual campus, the President may, after consultation with the Chancellor, place into immediate effect any emergency regulations, procedures, and other measures deemed necessary or appropriate to meet the emergency, safeguard persons and property, and maintain educational activities.
The President may immediately impose an interim suspension in all cases in which there is reasonable cause to believe that such an immediate suspension is required in order to protect lives or property and to insure the maintenance of order. A student so placed on interim suspension shall be given prompt notice of charges and the opportunity for a hearing within 10 days of the imposition of interim suspension. During the period of interim suspension, the student shall not, without prior written permission of the President or designated representative, enter any campus of the California State University other than to attend the hearing. Violation of any condition of interim suspension shall be grounds for expulsion.
Anyone who is found to be liable for copyright infringement may be liable for either the owner’s actual damages along with any profits of the infringer or statutory damages of up to $30,000 per work infringed. In the case of a willful infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. (See 17 U.S.C. §504.) Courts also have discretion to award costs and attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. (See 17 U.S.C. §505.) Under certain circumstances, willful copyright infringement may also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment and fines. (See 17 U.S.C. §506 and 18 U.S.C. §2319.)