What is Academic Probation?
You will be placed on Academic Probation when any of the following three conditions occur:
You earn a term GPA below 1.5 at the end of a Fall or Spring semester.
You earn a cumulative UC GPA below 2.0 at the end of a Fall or Spring semester.
You earn no letter grades in a Fall or Spring semester. This includes earning all Pass/No Pass, Incomplete, In Progress, or not recorded grades or any combination of the above. Even if you earn all Pass grades, since no grade points are earned, you will have a 0.0 GPA and will be placed on Academic Probation.
- Modifications to this third condition were in place from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021. See the COVID Policy Modifications page for more details.
Many students will experience a period of Academic Probation during their time at Cal. Academic Probation signals concern with your GPA and is an opportunity to get support.
If your semester grades put you on Academic Probation, you can return to good academic standing by “clearing” Academic Probation in the next Fall or Spring semester of enrollment. The FAQ on this page will go into more detail on how to clear.
Academic Probation grading option restriction: While you are on Academic Probation, you will not be able to change a grading option from Letter Graded to Pass/No Pass. If you make this change, the system will change your grading option back to Letter Graded. It is okay to sign up for a class that is offered as Pass/No Pass only.
If you do not clear Academic Probation by the end of the next semester (i.e. Fall or Spring) of enrollment, you may be required to take a break from UC Berkeley and earn specific grades elsewhere before returning. See our Dismissal page for more information about this process.
If you have concerns about your grades or are on Academic Probation, L&S College Advisers offer safe, judgment-free space to discuss the challenges you have encountered, understand your options, and make a plan for getting back on track.
Academic Probation FAQ
What to do if you are placed on Academic Probation
If you are placed on Academic Probation, L&S recommends taking the following steps:
- Make a plan. Review our Causes of Academic Difficulty and Helpful Policies and Resources pages to find support resources and think critically about the challenges you have faced. An L&S College Adviser can help with this process and with strategizing your class schedule for your probationary term. An L&S College Adviser can also help you understand the grades you will need to earn in order to clear Academic Probation.
- Read all emails from L&S (check your spam folder)
- After you receive your midterm grades (or at any point you have concern about keeping up in classes), make an appointment with an L&S College Adviser. Discuss your progress and any challenges you may be encountering.
- Toward the end of the semester, if you are concerned you may not clear Academic Probation, meet with an L&S College Adviser to discuss your options and write a Continue on Probation letter (see below). It can be helpful to schedule a meeting before important deadlines if you would like to discuss academic options (see the homepage for key deadlines for the current term).
How to clear Academic Probation
To clear Academic Probation, you will need to earn a minimum 2.0 term (semester) GPA and a 2.0 cumulative UC GPA by the end of the next Fall or Spring semester of enrollment (probationary term). An L&S College Adviser can help you understand the grades you will need to earn if you need to raise your GPA to a 2.0.
During an Academic Probation term, all courses that can be taken for a letter grade must be taken for a letter grade. You are still allowed to enroll in courses that are only offered as Pass/No Pass.
Students will need to be enrolled in a minimum of 13 units, unless approved for a Reduced Course Load. If you use your Late Change of Class Schedule petition while on probation to drop a course and this puts you below 13 units, L&S will approve a Reduced Course Load for you. However, if you are on Academic Probation, you may wish to discuss using your Late Change of Class Schedule petition with an L&S College Adviser.
Continued on Probation (COP) students must consult with an L&S College Adviser before using a Late Change to Class Schedule petition to see if it will violate your COP conditions. See below for more information on Continued on Probation status.
Before semester is over: Concerned about not clearing Academic Probation
If you believe you will not clear Academic Probation
- Meet with an L&S College Adviser. If you are worried that you may not meet the GPA requirements to clear Academic Probation by the end of your probationary term, we encourage you to meet with a L&S College Adviser as soon as possible to discuss the factors impacting your academic progress and any options you may have available to you.
- Submit a “Continue on Probation” letter. You have the option to write a “Continue on Probation” letter to the Dismissal Review Committee. This is an opportunity for you to provide additional information about why you were unable to clear Academic Probation, actions you have taken to clear Academic Probation, and steps you would take if granted an additional semester to clear Academic Probation. Students on Academic Probation should receive an email near the end of the semester for more information on this. See our Continue on Probation letter page for guidelines and samples.
What happens if I do not clear Academic Probation?
If you do not clear Academic Probation, a review will take place to determine if you will be required to take a break from UC Berkeley. This is called being “Subject to Dismissal.” It is important to know that “Dismissal” does not mean that you are “kicked out” of UC Berkeley permanently. The goal of Dismissal is to give you space to resolve challenges so that you can ultimately return and graduate.
Your academic history will be reviewed. Trends toward improvement are taken into account. Additionally, trends that show struggles in particular subjects or major directions are identified. If you could potentially graduate in the next semester, this will also be noted. Any relevant advising notes will also be considered.
Ultimately, the review committee attempts to determine whether continuing into the next semester at UC Berkeley is likely to help you improve your academic situation or if taking time away from UC Berkeley is the best next step for overcoming your challenges.
You have the option to write a “Continue on Probation” letter to be considered in this review. This is an opportunity for you to provide additional information about why you were unable to clear Academic Probation, actions you have taken to clear Academic Probation, and steps you would take if granted an additional semester to clear Academic Probation. See our Continue on Probation letter page for guidelines, samples, and deadlines.
We understand that waiting for a decision creates anxiety. We notify students of decisions as soon as the dismissal review process completes, which typically takes a few weeks once grades have been finalized and academic statuses have been assigned by the Office of the Registrar.
After this review, you will receive one of three decisions:
- You will be dismissed and will plan to meet particular criteria before you can be readmitted to another Fall/Spring semester at UC Berkeley. See the Dismissal page for detailed information.
- You will be Continued on Probation (COP) for another semester. This status will come with more oversight than your first term on Academic Probation and you will have extra obligations. See FAQ below on COP status for more information.
- Your decision will be pended or conditional. This is less common than the first two decisions. This may occur if a student is Subject to Dismissal after Spring semester and a decision is pended until Summer grades are recorded, but it also may relate to committing to a new major direction.
International students are reviewed first due to impacts to visas. If you are on a visa and subject to dismissal, it is important to talk with Berkeley International Office right away to discuss plans to depart the U.S. or transfer your I-20.
Continued on Probation (COP) Status
If you are Continued on Probation, you will have the same terms for clearing Academic Probation as before (earning semester and cumulative GPAs of a 2.0 by the end of the next Fall or Spring semester) as well as the same grading option restriction. However, you will have additional criteria to follow.
The first step will be a mandatory appointment with a specific L&S College Adviser. You will receive outreach from L&S Advising to let you know who you will meet with. We strive to make this appointment an encouraging and supportive experience, with the primary goal being to review and approve your semester schedule and to discuss any other requirements for your COP semester. These are your COP terms and may include that you follow through on connecting resources, follow up with an L&S College Adviser, or other terms that are related to your particular challenges. This should provide you with guidance and support toward reaching your academic goals.
This appointment will conclude with signing your "COP Contract." Approved schedules and signed COP contracts are mandatory to continue on COP status. Failure to follow through on this requirement will result in cancellation of your COP status and your semester, so make sure to take this requirement seriously.
Dismissal is meant to allow you time to find direction, overcome struggles, and demonstrate your readiness to get back on track at UC Berkeley. L&S Advising have worked with many students through their dismissal period, offering encouragement and guidance to not only return to Cal, but to achieve bigger picture goals.
If you have received a Dismissal decision, review the Dismissal page to understand this status and to plan your next steps.
There is no appeal process available for a Dismissal Review decision.