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Withdrawal Policy

The administrative grade "W" (Withdrawal Authorized) indicates that a student was permitted to withdraw from a course or the term after the drop deadline (the end of the official drop period). Withdrawing from a course or the term carries no connotation of quality of student performance and is not used in calculating grade point average or progress points.

Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 28 quarter or 18 semester units. This limit applies only to units attempted at Cal Poly. In certain cases, withdrawal petitions that are verified by the dean of the student's college (or designee) to be serious and compelling reasons and considered to be beyond the student's control will not count against the unit maximum.

Graduate students who withdraw from all or a substantial portion of a program of study in two successive quarters or in any three quarters may be placed on administrative probation by action of the Dean of Graduate Education.  (Students on approved Leaves of Absence are not subject to administrative probation.)

The following sections apply to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Withdrawal After the Drop Deadline and Prior to the Final 20% of Instruction

Students may petition to withdraw from a course or the term after the Drop Deadline and before the final 20% of instruction for serious and compelling reasons. It is not possible to describe in advance all the reasons that are acceptable or not acceptable as serious and compelling. They may be medical, psychological, financial, or personal, affecting the student or the student’s family. It should be emphasized that poor grades, irregular attendance, or dissatisfaction with the course are not in themselves sufficient reasons to withdraw.

Withdrawal During the Final 20% of Instruction

If students have serious and compelling reasons beyond their control, they can submit a petition to withdraw from a course or the term during the last 20% of instruction. There must be appropriate verification from the student’s dean or designee for the petition to be considered. Petitions for course or term withdrawals during the final 20% of instruction will not be approved without verification from the dean of the student’s college or designee. These withdrawals will not count against the unit maximum given above.


CSU Executive Order: EO 1037 “CSU Grading, Repetition of Courses, Academic Renewal, and Appeals Policy”. Revised 27 July 2021.

Academic Senate Resolution: AS-963-23 “Resolution to Revise the Course and Term Withdrawal Policy” (PDF). Adopted 6 June 2023; supersedes AS-103-80/IC.

Cal Poly Catalog: “Withdrawals / Renewal”

Cal Poly Graduate Education: Graduate Student Handbook: Policies and Guidelines

Updated 9/19/2023

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