Course Repetition

California Code of Regulations Title 5 §58161 and §55040 limit the number of times a student may repeat a course in the California Community College system. These regulations also require all current and prior credit course enrollments, repetitions, and withdrawals in a student’s enrollment record to be counted toward the maximum limit.

Students who wish 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 file a special request for consideration with the Counseling Department to repeat a course. The counselor will determine whether a Petition for Special Consideration 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 generally NOT be approved, except under certain, very limited extenuating circumstances, which must be documented. Please note: A student who is currently enrolled in a course will not be able to re-enroll in that same course for a subsequent term until the student receives a W or NP or a final substandard grade for the course.

For complete details, please see “Limits for Credit Course Enrollment” (SMC AR 4340), available online at (scroll to page 49). The Limits for Credit Course Enrollment policy is subject to change, pending revisions to California Code of Regulations Title 5.

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 §58161. Students may repeat courses at SMC if the courses are:

   1.   Courses that were originally completed with an unsatisfactory grade of D (1.0), F (0.0), NP (No Pass; formerly NC-No Credit) and/or W (Withdrawal), MW (Military Withdrawal), or FW (Fail for Lack of Participation); or

   2.   Courses Santa Monica College has designated as repeatable; or

   3.   Courses in which a student received a satisfactory grade, IF the original course was completed at least three (3) years prior to repeating it, AND the District requires a more recent completion of the course (see §55003), 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

   4.   Variable unit open entry/open exit credit courses, where a specific portion of the course needs to be repeated as permitted by Title 5 §55044 of the California Code of Regulations; or

   5.   Courses where satisfactory work has been recorded, but repetition is necessary for a student to meet a legally mandated training or cooperative/occupational work experience requirement (e.g., government-required licensing, certification, recertification) as a condition of paid or volunteer employment. Please note that these courses may be repeated any number of times, and the grade received each time will be included when calculating the student’s grade point average.

Effective Summer 2012, the first 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) if the course is subsequently repeated. The NEW grade earned must be an A, B, C, D, F, FW, or P (Pass), or NP (No Pass) for this to occur. A W, 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 §55762, 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 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.

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), FW (Fail for Lack of Participation; 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.

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