FAQ: Course & Semester Withdrawal

Considering withdrawing? If so, please consult with your course instructor and academic advisor to make sure this is the best option. Below is information on each withdrawal option to help you make an informed decision, and contact information to Campus Resources.

Important Information

  • Drop before the semesters drop deadline to avoid a "W" grade
  • Students are responsible for dropping or withdrawing from classes by the published drop deadlines
  • Serious and compelling reasons must be provided if withdrawing after the drop deadline from a course, courses, or semester.
  • Note: Before submitting any form, please contact the Financial Aid Office or the Bursar's Office to fully understand any potential financial implications of the submission.

When to Use

Before the third week of instruction (drop deadline)

Note: Prorated refund schedule may apply even when dropping by the drop deadline

Important Details

  1. Students are able to drop classes during the first three weeks of the term without restriction or academic penalty and can do so via their Student Center.  If instruction is needed click here.
  2. Students who drop all classes during the first three weeks of instruction are not considered enrolled for the current semester.
  3. Continuing students who do not enroll for two consecutive terms (excluding summer and winter) must apply for readmission to the University.
  4. New students who drop all classes within the first three weeks of the first term must apply for readmission to the University.
  5. Students who drop all classes after the first day of instruction must contact the Bursar's office regarding refunds. Please see Bursar’s Pro-Rata/Refund Guidelines for financial impacts
  6. Students who reside on campus and have an active lease must contact the Housing Office.
  7. The processing time is 7-10 business days.

How to Submit

  1. Complete all fields that apply to you
  2. Submit to the Registrar’s Office in person, by mail, or email

Download Form

When to Use

Used for students who wish to withdraw from all courses in a given term after that semester’s last day of instruction.

Important Details

  1. Approved withdrawals apply "W" to semester and/or course grades.
  2. Undergraduate students may withdraw from a course a maximum of two times and from no more than 18 semester-units of course work.
    • This does not include total semester withdrawals of all courses or classes taken in CEL.
  3. Supporting Documentation of Serious and Compelling reasons:
    • Required for all retroactive withdrawals.
    • Reasons, generally, do not include work schedule conflicts or withdrawals to improve GPA.
    • Documentation must match the dates of the term enrolled and explain, or show, why a semester/course could not be completed.
  4. Processing time is a month as each form needs to be reviewed by the Board of Appeals & Review.

How to Submit

  1. Prepare supporting reason/documentation
  2. Complete all fields that apply
  3. Submit form and any supporting reasons/documentation to the Registrar's Office in person, by mail, or email.

Download Form

When to Use

Retro course withdrawals are used by studnets who wish to withdraw from one or more courses, BUT NOT all courses, after a semester's last day of instruction.

Note: If not withdrawing from the entire semester then sperate forms must be submitted for each course.

Important Details

  1. Approved withdrawals apply "W" to semester and/or course grades.
  2. Undergraduate students may withdraw from a course a maximum of two times and from no more than 18 semester-units of course work.
    • This does not include total semester withdrawals of all courses or classes taken in CEL.
  3. Supporting Documentation of Serious and Compelling reasons:
    • Required for all retroactive withdrawals.
    • Contact your instructor or department for what types of documentation may be needed for reviewing your petition.
    • Reasons, generally, do not include work schedule conflicts or withdrawals to improve GPA.
    • Documentation must match the dates of the term enrolled and explain, or show, why a semester/course could not be completed.
  4. Processing time is a month as each form needs to be reviewed by the Board of Appeals & Review.

How to Submit

  1. Prepare supporting reason/documentation
  2. Complete all fields that apply
  3. Submit to course department to obtain Instructor, Chair, and Dean approval
  4. Submit form and any supporting reasons/documentation to the Registrar's Office in person, by mail, or email.

Please Note: If attempting to withdraw from multiple courses (not the entire semester), then seperate petitions will be needed for each.

Download Form

When to Use

Semester withdrawals are used by students who wish to withdraw from all courses in a given term after the third week of instruction (drop deadline), and before the semester ends.

Note: Before submitting, please contact the Financial Aid Office or the Bursar's Office to fully understand any potential financial implications of the submission.

Important Details

  1. Approved withdrawals apply "W" to semester and/or course grades.
  2. Supporting Documentation of Serious and Compelling Reasons:
    • Before the last four weeks of instruction: Students only need to submit a completed semester withdrawal form.
    • During the last four weeks of instruction: Students need to submit a completed current semester withdrawal form and supporting documentation of serious and compelling reasons.
      • Reasons, generally, do not include work schedule conflicts or withdrawals to improve GPA.
      • Documentation must match the dates of the term enrolled and explain, or show, why a semester/course could not be completed.
  3. Processing time can take 7 - 10 Business days.

How to Submit

  1. Complete all fields that apply to you
  2. If submitting after published deadline include supporting reason and/or documentation
  3. Submit form and any supporting reasons/documentation to the Registrar's Office in person, by mail, or email.

Download Form

When to Use

Course withdrawals are used by students who wish to withdraw from a single course in a given term after the third week of instruction, and before the semester ends.

Note: Before submitting, please contact the Financial Aid Office or the Bursar's Office to fully understand any potential financial implications of the submission.

Important Details

  1. Approved withdrawals apply "W" to course grades.
  2. These requests can be submitted online by the instructor, please contact them to see if the paper form is required.
  3. Undergraduate students may withdrawal from a course a maximum of two times and from no more than 18 semester-units of course work.
    • This does not include total term withdrawals of all courses or classes taken in CEL.
  4. Supporting Documentation of Serious and Compelling Reasons:
    • Before the last four weeks of instruction: Students will need to contact the instructor or department to see if documentation is required.
    • During the last four weeks of instruction: Students will need to provide supporting documentation of serious and compelling reasons.
  5. Processing time can vary when waiting on course department approval. Registrar processing time is 7-10 business days. Online requests do not require Registrar processing, only the course department's. 

How to Submit

IMPORTANT: Contact the course instructor to confirm if a paper petition is needed.

  1. Complete all fields that apply to you
  2. Submit to the course department to obtain Instructor, Chair, and Dean approval
  3. If submitting after published deadline include supporting reason and/or documentation

Please Note: If attempting to withdraw from multiple courses, then a seperate form is needed for each one.

Download Form

Advising Center

The Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC) is the home base for undeclared and exploratory students. For all undergraduate students, the Advsing Center staff are the experts in general education and university requirements. Please use the contact information below to set up an appointment.  

College Resource Centers

Advising resources are available for students here at SF State depending on your major or special programs (i.e. Metro, EOP and athletics). If you are undeclared, your primary advisors are in the Undergraduate Advising Center.  If you are in a major/pre-major/applying to an impacted program, you can meet advisors in your college resource center. The faculty in your major department are also advisors for your major requirements except for College of Business students (see the CoB Student Services Center)