May 17, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Course Credit & Numbering

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.

Credit Hour

As of July 1, 2011, federal law (Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 600.2 and 600.4) requires all accredited institutions to comply with the federal definition of the credit hour. For all CSU degree programs and courses bearing academic credit, the “credit hour” is defined as “the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of- class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) 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.”

A credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute period. In courses in which “seat time” does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.

Course Numbering System

Course Numbers

Lower division (freshman and sophomore) courses are numbered 001-099 and cannot be used for credit in graduate or credential programs; upper division (junior and senior) courses are numbered 100-199; graduate courses are numbered 200-299.

Methods or professional courses given by or for other departments are allowed upper division credit and are numbered 300-399; 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 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.

400-499 Continuing Education Units

Courses in the 400-series are especially 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.

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 Grades Averaged

  1. 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.
  2. Graduate students may repeat a maximum of 9 units of upper division or graduate course work for graduation credit.
  3. Course repeats with Grades Averaged will be assigned automatically for all eligible courses as soon as a student registers. Once the pool of available units 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 unit.

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 be Grade 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 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).

Excess Units

Enrollment limits for undergraduate students will be set on a semester by semester basis. Petitions and information are available at Registrar’s Office.

Maximum Unit Loads

An undergraduate student who takes 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

Transcript Requests

Current and former San Jose State students have several ways to order official and unofficial transcripts

  • Current students should use their MySJSU Account.

  • Former students must order from our vendor Credentials Inc. You do not need your SJSU ID number to place an order.

  • For unofficial transcript, log into your MySJSU Account. Tutorial available online. If you no longer have access to MySJSU, and you’ve attended after 1991, come in person to Window “R” in the Student Services Center, and we can print an unofficial copy for you (photo ID is required). If you cannot come in person, you must order an official transcript.

Visit the Registrar’s Office website, for more information on Transcripts.


If there is any financial hold or administrative obligation on your student records, it must be cleared with the department that placed the hold before transcripts can be processed. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. For students who have undergraduate and post-baccalaureate or graduate course work, please be aware that it is not possible to separate undergraduate course work from the post-baccalaureate or graduate course work. All careers will appear on the transcript as it is considered one official record.
  3. Transcript requests will not be accepted by fax or e-mail.
  4. 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@

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.

  1. See Repeating a class for more information.
  2. Courses designated “Repeatable for Credit” may be repeated even though the original grade was “C” or better.
  3. The policies regarding repetition of courses with Grade Forgiveness or Grade Averaging (as described below) 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), Veteran’s 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.