Academic Probation occurs when students do not meet minimum GPA standards. This is a concern because a falling GPA can ultimately keep you from graduating. If your semester grades put you on Academic Probation, you will be allowed the next Fall or Spring semester of enrollment in order to return to good academic standing by “clearing” Academic Probation (see FAQ below for more information about Academic Probation restrictions and requirements to clear).
Many students experience Academic Probation, and for a variety of reasons. Academic Probation typically represents a challenge a student is facing but was unable to address or understand. It is important to identify your own academic challenges and come up with a plan before moving forward. Our Causes of Academic Difficulty and Academic Support and Resources pages can provide guidance.
A student will be placed on Academic Probation when any of the following three conditions occur:
The student earns a term GPA below 1.5 at the end of a Fall or Spring semester.
The student earns a cumulative UC GPA below 2.0 at the end of a Fall or Spring semester.
The student earns 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 a student earns all Pass grades, since no grade points are earned, the student will have a 0.0 GPA and will be placed on Academic Probation.
- Modifications to this third condition are in place for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. See the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021: Policy Modifications and FAQ page for more details.
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. Though, it is okay to sign up for a class that is offered as Pass/No Pass only.
Students who do not clear Academic Probation by the end of the next semester (i.e. Fall or Spring) of enrollment 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.
It is very important for students to meet with an L&S College Adviser to understand their academic status and make sure they are aware of the steps they should take to return to good academic standing.
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 Academic Support and Resources pages to identify your personal challenges and options for approaching things differently in your next semester. 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)
- Attend a Reach for Success workshop to learn about important deadlines, academic support resources, and making changes to support your academic success.
- After you receive your midterm grades (or at any point you have concern about keeping up in classes), check-in with your L&S College Adviser. Discuss your progress and any challenges you may be encountering.
- If you are concerned about clearing Academic Probation, learn about academic policies, options, and additional resources to support you at a Save Your Semester Workshop.
- Toward the end of the semester, if you are concerned you may not clear Academic Probation, it is valuable to meet with an L&S College Adviser before RRR week to discuss your options and write a Continue on Probation letter (see below).
How to clear Academic Probation
To clear Academic Probation, a student must 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 must be enrolled full-time in a minimum of 13-units, unless approved for a Reduced Course Load. If you use your Late Change of Class Schedule petition during a probationary term to drop a course and this drop 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. Students 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?
Students who do not clear Academic Probation will be reviewed to determine if they must take a break from UC Berkeley to resolve their academic challenges. 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 help students resolve challenges to their academic progress so that they can ultimately return and graduate. If you are subject to dismissal, your academic progress will be reviewed and you will receive one of three decisions:
- You will be dismissed and must meet readmission criteria before enrolling in another regular 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 submitted, but it also may relate to committing to a new major direction.
We understand that being Subject to Dismissal can create a lot of anxiety as you wait for a decision. We do our best to 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.
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.
Your academic history will be reviewed and trends will be identified. 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 be considered.
If you have submitted a Continue on Probation (COP) letter, it will also be reviewed at this time.
Ultimately, the review committee attempts to determine whether allowing you to continue into the next semester at UC Berkeley is likely to help you improve your academic situation or taking time away from UC Berkeley is the best next step for overcoming your challenges.
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 you must 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 must meet with and by what date. During this meeting, you must have your course schedule for your COP semester approved. The L&S College Adviser you meet with may communicate required changes. Ultimately, if you do not have your schedule approved or if you change your schedule after approval, your enrollment may be cancelled.
In this appointment, the L&S College Adviser will also communicate to you any other requirements for your COP semester. These are your COP terms and may include that you follow through on connecting resources, attend workshops, follow up with an L&S College Adviser, or other terms that are related to your particular challenges.
Remember that your COP terms are meant to support your specific challenges. It is our way of helping you come up with a plan to get back on track academically as our ultimate goal is to see you graduate.
Dismissal is meant to allow students time to find direction, overcome struggles, and demonstrate they are ready to return by aiming to earn grades at an institution that does not impact the UC Berkeley GPA.
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.