Unit of Credit
The unit of credit is the semester unit. Transferred work from a quarter system college or university will be converted to semester system units and grade points. Each semester unit is equal to one and one-half quarter units.
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 institutions’ 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 are responsible (effective summer 2021) for publishing a clearly stated practice or process that ensures they are in compliance with the student credit hour definition. The Office of Academic Scheduling produces a Class Meeting Time Report with the publication of each regular session semester Schedule of Classes. The College of Professional and Global Education is responsible for auditing special session courses.
Course Numbering System
1-99 Lower Division Courses (Freshmen and Sophomores)
Lower division courses are numbered 1-99 and should be designed for freshmen and sophomores. Many lower division courses have articulation agreements secured with California community colleges. The articulation agreements are available, as well as General Education (GE) articulation agreements. Visit the Articulation webpage for more information.
100-199 Upper Division Courses (Juniors and Seniors)
Upper division courses are numbered 100-199 and should be designed for juniors and seniors. It is recommended that upper division courses have a minimum prerequisite of upper division standing. Articulation agreements are available between university to university and other regionally accredited colleges and universities. Visit the Articulation webpage for more information.
200-299 Master’s Courses
Master’s courses are numbered 200-299.
300-499 Methods / Professional / Continuing Education Units
Courses in the 300 and 400-series are specially designed for professional in-service and relicensure purposes. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are given for these courses. Courses are not applicable to degree programs and units earned do not affect grade point totals or average. These courses given by or for other departments are allowed upper division credit and are numbered 300-499.
500-599 Doctoral Courses
Doctoral courses are numbered 500-599.
180 Individual Study and 184 Directed Reading
Individual Studies (180) and Directed Reading (184) are used for independent study and are generally reserved for majors within a department. Normally, no more than four units of 180 and/or 184 may be taken for baccalaureate credit (see Undergraduate University Graduation Requirements).
96, 196, 296, and 596 Experimental Courses
Courses numbered 96, 196, 296, and 596 are offered to meet special demands for experimental courses on a temporary basis and are listed in the Schedule of Classes, but not in the academic catalog.
1000 No Degree Credit
Courses in the 1000-series do not earn credit toward any degree program. Examples: remedial courses and units devoted to thesis, project, or dissertation beyond minimum required units. (Effective May 30, 2016)
Course Repeats with Grade Points Averaged
- Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students may repeat a maximum of 28 units for graduation credit (including units repeated for Grade Forgiveness; excluding grades of “W”). After the pool of Grade Forgiveness units have been depleted or used to the fullest extent allowable, the repeat grade shall not replace the original grade. Instead grade points and units from all attempts shall be calculated in the student’s SJSU cumulative GPA and overall GPA.
- Graduate students may repeat a maximum of 9 units of upper division or graduate course work for graduation credit.
- Course repeats with Grade Points Averaged will be assigned automatically for all eligible courses as soon as a student registers. When the pool of available units that may be repeated for graduation credit is insufficient for the next repeated course, unused units may be applied to a future course of lower unit value or simply left unused in the pool. If a repeated course is dropped prior to the Drop Deadline or a “W” is recorded for a repeated course, then the Grade Averaged units return to the pool of available units.
Students who (1) have repeated the maximum allowable units, (2) are otherwise making appropriate progress to degree, and (3) still need to repeat courses to fulfill specific major or minor requirements necessary for graduation may petition for an exception to the 28-unit limit. Undergraduate Education and the Registrar’s Office will administer the petition process. Any course(s) approved for repeating by this petition process will have Grade Points Averaged.
Duplicate Credit - Inadmissible Repeats
Unless a course is designated “Repeatable for Credit” in the catalog, repeating a course in which a “C or better” was earned on the first attempt is not admissible. This restriction applies whether the first attempt was at another institution and the second attempt at SJSU, or the reverse. Articulation agreements determine if the course at another institution is considered equivalent to an SJSU course. See the course-to-course articulation information.
If the “inadmissible repeat” (second attempt) is taken at SJSU before the transfer record from the first non-SJSU attempt is posted, the units and grade points will appear on the transcript and the grade will initially be calculated into the SJSU and All College grade point averages. Students should be aware that units completed and grade points cannot be earned for “inadmissible repeats” and will be removed at any time prior to graduation. The grade earned will be indicated on the student’s record. Students should keep track of these units and not count them twice for graduation purposes.
This same restriction about duplicate credit applies to credit earned by AP, CLEP and IB exams. AP, CLEP and IB exams that articulate to specific SJSU courses. See credit by exam articulation information. When an exam and a course duplicate credit, the exam credit shall be removed or reduced according to the amount of overlap (EO 1036).
Enrollment limits for undergraduate students will be set on a semester by semester basis. Petitions and information are available at the Registrar’s Office.
Maximum Unit Loads
An undergraduate student who enrolls in 12 or more units is classified as full-time for the purposes of financial aid. An average unit load of at least 30 units per academic year (15 units per semester without summer or winter coursework) is required to complete an undergraduate degree in four years. Advising is essential to be able to complete a degree in a timely and efficient manner. Students with work or family responsibilities outside of school should consult with an advisor and reduce their study loads appropriately.
The maximum load for graduate students is normally 15 semester units. Reasonable exceptions beyond this number up to 18 units may be approved, by the graduate advisor and department chair, for sufficient cause, but permission must also be garnered from the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies by means of the Graduate Petition for Excess Units. Loads beyond 18 units for graduate students are prohibited by the CSU. The Graduate Studies & Research Committee strongly recommends that graduate students carry no more than 12 units of 200-level work in any one semester. There is no official minimum load for graduate students other than for those who wish to receive financial assistance or other benefits.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations on international students require that undergraduates maintain full-time status of 12 semester units and graduate students 9 semester units, excluding summer in both cases. To appeal this regulation, go to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).
Transcript of Record
Current and former San José State students have several ways to order official and unofficial transcripts
Visit the Registrar’s Office website, for more information on Transcripts.
Holds may be placed on your student records by other campus departments for various reasons (e.g. fees, books, housing, equipment or documents).
General Transcript Regulations:
- Transcripts are a complete record of all courses and/or degrees completed at San José State University. Transcripts do not include course work completed at other institutions. Only the transferable units are reflected on transcripts under “Transfer Credit”. Transcripts from high schools or other colleges cannot be duplicated. You must apply directly to each school for copies of their transcripts.
- For students who have undergraduate and post-baccalaureate or graduate course work, please be aware that it is not possible to separate undergraduate coursework from the post-baccalaureate or graduate course work. All careers will appear on the transcript as it is considered one official record.
- Transcript requests will not be accepted by fax or email.
- We do not accept requests for unofficial transcripts. Unofficial transcripts can be obtained through your Student Center page on the mySJSU portal (current and newly graduated students only). If you need assistance with your mySJSU account, please contact the IT Help Desk via e-mail: ithelpdesk@ sjsu.edu
Repetition of Courses
In accordance with University Policy, F08-2, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students (regular enrollment and Open University) may repeat courses only if they earned grades lower than a “C” (including “WU”, “IC”, and “NC”).
Special programs, such as credential programs, that are governed by external standards may require grades higher than a C. In courses specific to those programs, a course repeat may be permitted when the grade does not meet the necessary standard.
Graduate students may repeat courses only if they earned grades lower than a “B” (including “WU”, “IC”, and “NC”).
Repeating a course with an Incomplete (“I”) grade is not allowed; a grade must be assigned or the “I” must revert to an “IC” prior to repeating the course. Repeating a course with an “RP” is allowed, although the course instructor and individual departments should be consulted for their requirements in this regard.
The limits on course repetition apply only to units completed at SJSU.
- See Repeating a class for more information.
- Courses designated “Repeatable for Credit” may be repeated even if the original grade was “C” or better.
- The policies regarding repetition of courses with Grade Forgiveness or Grade Averaging apply only to courses taken and repeated at SJSU.
Verification of Unit Load
In verifying enrollments to the Veterans’ Administration, scholarship boards and loan agencies, the university reports the total number of units enrolled as the official unit load for an undergraduate.
The definition of “full-time student” made by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Veterans Administration and other agencies may vary. Students who are concerned with their status are urged to contact the specific agency involved to determine its policies. Full veterans’ subsistence payments require a course load of 12 weighted semester units for both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students from foreign countries who are in the U.S. on student visas must normally carry nine semester units to maintain full-time student status, while undergraduate international students must carry 12 semester units to maintain the required full-time status.
Students may request verification of unit load from the Registrar’s office located in the Student Services Center.