Academic Policies at College of San Mateo - Course Repetition
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Academic Policies
Course Repetition

Course Repetition Definition
A “course repetition” occurs when a student attempts a course and receives an evaluative or non-evaluative symbol for the course (i.e. A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D+, D, D-, F, W, P/NP, CR/NC, RD, I) and wishes to enroll again in the same course
(Title 5 Section 55040).

Course repetition includes the following components:

Course Repetition to Alleviate Substandard Work
  • A student who has earned a substandard grade (i.e., D+, D, D-, F, NP, NC) may repeat the course to improve the grade. A student may attempt a course a maximum of three times. All course attempts in a student’s academic record count toward this enrollment limitation. The first or first and second substandard grades and units are excluded in computing the student’s GPA. The grade and units for the third or final attempt are included in the student’s GPA (Title 5 Section 55042).
Course Repetition as a Result of a Withdrawal
  • A “W” counts as a course attempt. A student may attempt a course a maximum of three times. All course attempts in a student’s academic record count toward this enrollment limitation. (A student, with a combination of substandard grades and W's cannot attempt a course more than three times.)
A student earning a satisfactory grade may not enroll in the same course again unless one of the following five exceptions applies:
  • Significant Lapse of Time
    A student may enroll for one additional attempt if he/she successfully completed the course and a significant lapse of time of more than 36 months has occurred since the student was awarded a grade in the course AND the district has established a recency prerequisite for the course or an institution of higher education to which the student seeks to transfer has established a recency requirement that applies to the course. (Example: Biology 250 was completed with a grade of C in Fall 2011. In Fall 2013 the student is preparing to apply to a nursing program that requires Biology 250 to be completed within the last three years. The student is eligible to repeat the course in Spring 2015 with documentation of the recency requirement.) The grade and units from the first course completion will be disregarded in computing the GPA (Title 5 Section 55043).
  • Variable Unit Courses
    A student may enroll in a variable unit course as many times as necessary to complete one time the entire curriculum and unit value of the course. However, a student may not repeat any portion of a variable unit course that has already be completed and evaluated (Title 5 Section 55044).
  • Extenuating Circumstances
    A student may enroll for one additional attempt only if documentable extenuating circumstances exist that match the dates of the course for the previous enrollment. Examples of extenuating circumstances are natural disaster, accident, illness, or other extraordinary documentable experience beyond the student’s control (Title 5 Section 55045).
  • Students with Disabilities Repeating a Special Class
    A student with a verifiable disability may repeat a special class for students with disabilities any number of times based on achieving progress in the class and an individualized determination that such repetition is required as a disability-related accommodation for that student (Title 5 Section 55040).
  • Legally Mandated Course
    A student may repeat a course determined to be legally mandated and required by statute or regulation as a condition of paid or volunteer employment or licensure. A student must provide evidence that the course is legally mandated or that licensure standards require course repetition. Such courses may be repeated for credit any number of times (Title 5 Section 55000).
Courses Related in Content
  • Course Attempts within Subject Families (Studio Art, Music, Dance, Kinesiology/Physical Education)
    District policy limits enrollment of students in courses that are active participatory courses in physical education/kinesiology, and visual or performing arts. In this regard, the colleges have established “families” of similar educational activities. Kinesiology activity courses and some visual and performing arts have established “families” and are subject to enrollment limitations. Although a course cannot be repeated, a student may attempt up to 4 courses in a subject “family.” Some subject families offer more than 4 courses but a student may enroll in a maximum of four courses within a family. All course attempts in a student’s academic history count toward this enrollment limitation within a “family” of courses. This limitation applies even if the student receives a substandard grade or a “W.” Enrollment limitations are monitored district wide for a subject “family.” New students are advised to enroll in the beginning level of a course family and be placed by their instructor upon assessment. Continuing students who have previously taken a course within a family must progress to the next level. For a list of Kinesiology and Dance “families” go to the college catalog under Course Descriptions/Kinesiology (Title 5 Section 55040).
Limitations on Enrollment Attempts in Physical Education/Kinesiology, Dance, and Visual and Performing Arts Courses
  • District Policy limits enrollment of students in courses that are active participatory courses in physical education/kinesiology and visual or performing arts. (Title 5 Section 55040)
  • The majority of these types of courses offered by the San Mateo County Community College District are now leveled to show progression from the most fundamental (level 1) to the most advanced (level 4). Course levels can be identified by a .1, .2, .3, or .4 system or by the course title. Because the course levels are typically scheduled simultaneously, students are advised to enroll initially at the fundamental level (.1) regardless of previous experience and be placed at the appropriate level based on instructor assessment. Adapted Physical Education and intercollegiate sports related courses are not affected by the repeatability legislation. 

  • Students are limited to a maximum of four course attempts per family. A course attempt means enrollment that results in any evaluative or non-evaluative symbol (any letter grade, P/NP, CR/NC, or W). See course families listed below. If there is more than one course in a particular family, a student may only enroll in a maximum of four total courses within that family. After four courses within a family have been attempted, a student has the option to audit should they wish to continue enrolling in courses within that family. Accepting course audits us up to the faculty member teaching the course. Also, units and subject credit for courses that are audited do not count toward GPA or degree or certificate completion. For information about how to audit, students should refer to the audit policy in the catalog and find the Audit Form on the college forms webpage.

  • A course previously attempted by a student, prior to course leveling within the identified family, counts as a course attempt and limits future enrollments of courses within that family to a maximum of four combined. Below is a matrix which identifies the previous courses and the equivalent with levels. This limitation on enrollment applies to all coursework attempted by the student.

Repeatable Courses
Three types of courses may be designated as repeatable. These courses are so noted in the college catalog
(Title 5 Section 55041).
  • Intercollegiate Athletics
    Courses in which student athletes enroll to participate in an organized sport sponsored by the district or a conditioning course which supports the organized competitive sport may be designated as repeatable
    (Title 5 Section 55040/55041).
  • Intercollegiate Academic or Vocational Competition
    Courses that are specifically for participation in non-athletic competitive events between students from different colleges may be designated as repeatable. The course must be tied to the student’s participation in the competition. The event must be sanctioned by a formal collegiate or industry governing body.
  • Required by CSU or UC For Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree
    Repetition of the course is required by CSU or UC for completion of the bachelor’s degree. Courses are limited to four attempts and this enrollment limitation applies even if the student receives a substandard grade or a “W” (Title 5 Section 55041).
Because of restrictions in course repeatability, review the Audit Policy to ensure your class can be repeated.