Course Repetition Policy and Limitations
Course Repetition Limitations for Substandard and Withdrawal Coursework
- Students who wish or need to repeat a course in which they have previously earned an unsatisfactory grade or a W may re-enroll ONE TIME without the need to request prior permission from a counselor. Any subsequent attempts to re-enroll require authorization from a counselor BEFORE ENROLLING.
- In some cases, after meeting with a counselor, students will need to complete and file a Request for Special Consideration petition with the Counseling Department to repeat a course. The counselor will determine whether a petition is required.
- Depending on the circumstances, requests to enroll in a course a THIRD time may not be approved.
- Requests to enroll in a course a FOURTH time (or more) will NOT be approved, except under certain, very limited extenuating circumstances, which must be documented. Courses completed with an EW will not count against the enrollment limits listed above.
For complete details, please see “Credit Course Enrollment Limitation” (SMC AR 4340), available online (go to www.smc.edu/AR4000StudentServices). The Credit Course Enrollment Limitation policy is subject to change, pending revisions to California Code of Regulations Title 5.
Course Repetition Limitations for Course Already Passed
Santa Monica College permits students to repeat (enroll again in) courses they have already completed, but only under special circumstances authorized by California Code of Regulations Title 5. The special circumstances include:
- Courses Santa Monica College has designated as repeatable; or
- Courses in which a student received a satisfactory grade and one of the following
- The original course was completed at least three (3) years prior to repeating it, and the course is required by the District as a recency prerequisite, OR another educational institution to which a student seeks to transfer requires the course to be taken more recently than the student’s last enrollment in the course [note that the significant-lapse-of-time exception cannot be used if the student earned a substandard grade when last enrolled in the course.]; or
- The student’s previous grade in the course was determined to be the result of extenuating circumstances (illness, accident, fire, etc.; documentation of circumstances is generally required); or
- The student has one or more disabilities and the student’s success in other classes is dependent upon additional repetition of a special class, the student needs to enroll again to be prepared for enrollment in other classes, or the student’s education plan specifies a goal in which additional enrollments in the special class will help further that goal [note that the course repetition must designated as part of the student’s accommodation]; or
- Courses that are required by statute or regulation as a condition of employment AND the student is seeking to be employed for a paid or volunteer job that requires the course; or
- Courses that address a significant change in industry or licensure standards so that repetition is necessary for the student’s employment or licensure [note that appropriate documentation will be requested]; or
- A legally mandated training or cooperative/occupational work experience requirement; or
- The classes are variable unit open entry/open exit credit courses, where a specific portion of the course needs to be repeated as permitted by Title 5 Regulations.
Santa Monica College has designated selected courses as being repeatable per California Code of Regulations Title 5 §55041. In some cases, courses are grouped together because they are related in content. These courses may include several levels, but also have a cumulative course repeatability of three (i.e., a total of four course completions is permitted). For example, Dance 43, 44, 45, and 46 are grouped together because they are all different levels of contemporary modern dance for the major. A student who repeats Dance 43 (two course enrollments: taking the course initially, and repeating the course), and then completes Dance 44 and Dance 45, has accumulated four enrollments in a group of courses. As a result, that student may not enroll in Dance 46, because doing so would exceed the maximum number of course repetitions that are permitted. In addition, any Dance course enrollments in which the student earned a grade of D (1.0), F (0.0), NP (No Pass; formerly NC-No Credit), and/or W (Withdrawal) or MW (Military Withdrawal) will count toward the maximum number of enrollments allowed in the course grouping.
Impact of Repeated Coursework on SMC Transcript
In cases where a student has earned more than two substandard grades (or, in the case of Withdrawals, the first two Ws) in a single course can be disregarded when calculating a student’s grade point average (GPA) or progress calculation if the course is subsequently repeated. The NEW grade earned must be an A, B, C, D, F, or P (Pass), or NP (No Pass) for this to occur. A W, EW, MW, or I cannot be used to disregard any previous grades or notations on transcripts. All of the original grades always remain in the student’s permanent record, as required by Title 5, but will have a notation to indicate that the course was repeated.
For example, if a student takes English 1 for the first time and earns a D (1.0), then repeats the course and earns another D (1.0) the second time, and then, on a counselor-authorized third attempt, earns a C (2.0), the previous two D grades will be disregarded (although the grades will still appear on the student’s transcript, noted to show the course repetition), and the C (2.0) will be used to recalculate the student’s GPA.
Please note that the only grades that may be recalculated for improvement of a student’s GPA are the first two unsatisfactory grades that the student earns in the course, and ONLY if both attempts at taking the course were made at Santa Monica College. Even if the student receives special permission to enroll in the same course for a fourth time, the GPA recalculation is limited to the first two unsatisfactory grades earned in the course. Note that any grades earned in courses taken at other colleges or universities cannot be used to recalculate a student’s GPA at SMC.
Repeating a course that a student originally completed with a grade of A (4.0), B (3.0), C (2.0), or P (Pass) will have NO effect on the student’s GPA or units completed, and is only permitted after the student files a written request and receives approval to repeat the course, and only if the student is repeating the course under one of the special circumstances listed above.
Requests for Discounting Grades
Students may request to have up to two substandard grades discounted from their SMC GPA if a third enrollment or more in the same course took place during the period of Summer 2007 to Spring 2012 and the resulting grade was an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “F”, “Cr”, “NC”, “P” or “NP”.
While this option may benefit most students, there are some cases in which students have already utilized a second "D" grade earned for an AA, IGETC/CSU certification and/or transfer purposes. For these cases, the student will NOT be able to "slash" the second substandard grade. Example 2 below would be an example of this case. This is why we are not asking MIS to automatically slash all second substandard grades during the indicated time period.
Review the three examples below to get a sense of how requests for discounting grades work:
Student first completed Psychology 1 in Spring 2005 and received an “F”. She repeated the course in Summer 2007 and received another “F”. Finally, she completed the course successfully in Summer 2010 and earned a “C”.
Presently, the first “F” grade has already been discounted from the SMC GPA. But now the student can also petition to have the second “F” grade discounted from her SMC GPA.
Student first completed Economics 2 in Summer 2009 and received an “F”. He attempted the course again in Fall 2009 and received a “D”. Finally, in Summer 2011, he enrolled in the course a third time and received another “F”. He has now transferred to CSULB and the “D” grade earned in Economics 2 in Fall 2009 has been applied to his CSU GE certification and accepted at CSULB towards his Bachelor’s degree.
This student will not be able to “discount” the “D” grade from his GPA and unit totals because the “D” grade earned in the second enrollment has already been applied to his CSU certification and transfer credit totals.
Student first enrolled in Math 2 in Summer 2010 and received a “D” grade. She enrolled in the course a second time in Fall 2010 and earned another “D” grade Finally, she earned a “B” grade in the course in Spring 2012.
She can now petition to have the “D” grade earned in the second enrollment discounted from her SMC Grade Point average.
If a student’s third enrollment or more in the same class occurred in Summer 2012 or later, the student does not need to request to have the second substandard grade discounted from his/her GPA, this should happen automatically.