Jul 19, 2019  
2013-2014 Catalog 
2013-2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies and Procedures


Academic Policies and Procedures

The Academic Year

The Semester System

The University of California, Merced is on the semester system. The academic year is divided into two semesters, and summer sessions during the summer term. Quarter units earned previously at another institution are converted to semester units by dividing the quarter units earned for each course by 1.5; for example, 4 quarter units equals 2.667 semester units.

Summer Session

UC Merced Summer Session is committed to working with the campus community to offer a strong core of high-demand and innovative programs, courses, and learning opportunities for both matriculated and visiting students during the summer.  Summer Session seeks to increase student access to high-demand courses, help students make appropriate degree progress by either catching up or accelerating their individual curriculum.  Each summer, a wide variety of lower-division and upper-division courses are offered in two six-week sessions and one eight-week session to enhance the university experience offered to students. 

Who May Attend Summer Session?
Summer Session enrollment is open to UC Merced students, visiting students, eligible high school students, and the general public.  Please see the Summer Session website for more information including the application form for non-UC Merced students. Admission to Summer Session does not constitute admission as a regular student to the university. UC Merced students enroll directly in Summer Session courses and do not need to apply. UC Merced students in dismissed status must submit an application online and are encouraged to speak with their School advisor if they seek to be reinstated in a future term.

Unit Maximum During Summer Session
UC Merced continuing students wishing to take courses in excess of 12 units in the summer must have the approval of the appropriate authority in their School.
Summer Session Contact
Information regarding Summer Session fees and the application form is available online at http://summersession.ucmerced.edu. Questions may be emailed to summersession@ucmerced.edu.


Enrolling in Courses

UC Merced students register each semester using the online registration system, MyRegistration (accessible via the MyUCMerced portal at my.ucmerced.edu). The registration process includes enrolling in classes, paying fees and other financial obligations, filing a current address with the Office of the Registrar, and completing and filing other information forms. MyRegistration allows the student to enroll in classes via the Internet. With UC Merced’s Internet registration, students will always receive the most up-to-date information regarding their registration and class enrollment. Pre-assigned appointments that are spread throughout the registration period regulate access to the registration system. For security purposes, students are assigned a unique login user code and password/PIN that must be entered to access MyRegistration. Students may make changes to their course schedule through the adjustment period. Courses may be added online through the first week of instruction and may be dropped online through the third week of instruction. A new or reinstated student must also:

  • Obtain a student ID card (“CatCard”), and 
  • If required, complete the online Statement of Legal Residence form on the Office of the Registrar’s website (registrar.ucmerced.edu) under the California Residency and Fees section.

Registration Priority

Access to registration (via MyRegistration) is by priority groups. The groups are established according to student class level as determined by the number of units completed, with the seniors registering first, juniors second, etc.

The number of semester units a student has completed determines undergraduate classification:

Class Level Units

Freshman 0.0–29.9

Sophomore 30.0–59.9

Junior 60.0–89.9

Senior 90.0 or more

Late Enrollment/Registration

Students who have not registered prior to the first day of instruction are considered late enrollments. Students may be assessed a $50 late enrollment fee. Contact the Registrar’s office at the Students First Center if you wish to enroll in classes after the semester begins.

Adding and Dropping Courses

Adding a Course

During the first week of instruction, students may add a course or courses if space is available. During the second and third weeks of instruction, a student may add courses only with the permission of the instructor. After the third week of instruction, students may add a course only with the permission of both the instructor and the dean of the School with which the student is affiliated. A fee will be assessed for adding a course after the third week.

  • First week: Students may add if space available
  • Second and third weeks: Students may add only with instructor’s approval
  • After third week: Students may add through petition only (see below); fee assessed

Dropping a Course

During the first three weeks of instruction, students may drop a course or courses without paying a fee and without further approval.

Withdrawing from a Course

After the third week of instruction and until the end of the tenth week of instruction, a student may withdraw from a course for emergency reasons or for good cause with the signed approval of the instructor of record and confirmed by the dean of the School with which the student is affiliated, provided:

  1. The student is not on special probation (i.e. students who have successfully appealed disqualification),
  2. Dropping the course would be to the educational benefit of the student (in the judgment of the instructor and dean) and
  3. The student is not being investigated for academic dishonesty in that course.

Withdrawing from a course between the 4th and 10th weeks will be approved only provided the student submits a withdrawal form including a written description of the special circumstances warranting this action; therefore, students should continue to attend the course until their withdraw request is approved. Any request to withdraw beginning in the eleventh week of instruction will only be considered under exceptional circumstances (illness or injury substantiated by a doctor’s note, recent death in the immediate family or other circumstances of equal gravity), and will only be considered following both signed approval of the instructor of record and submission of a petition that is approved by the dean of the School with which the student is affiliated. All withdrawals must be received by the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines specified. For students withdrawing after the third week of instruction, a fee will be assessed and a “W” notation will be assigned by the Office of the Registrar and appear in place of a grade on the student’s permanent transcript. Courses in which a “W” has been entered on a student’s record carry no grade points, are not calculated in the grade point average, and will not be considered as courses attempted in assessing the student’s progress to degree. Nevertheless, it is a marker used to indicate that the student was enrolled in the class beyond the fourth week of instruction. It does not indicate whether the student was passing or failing.

Auditing a Course

With the consent of the instructor, registered students and interested individuals are permitted to audit classes. Arrangements are made directly with the faculty member under any rules the faculty member may establish, and those auditing ordinarily do not participate in exams or written papers. Priority for course resources such as classroom space and laboratory supplies is given to students who are fully enrolled in the course. Audited classes are not recorded on the student’s class schedule or on academic transcript.

Petition of Academic Policy

A petition process exists for students who seek an exception to stated academic policies, procedures, and regulations. Approval for petitions will be granted by a University committee only in cases where extenuating circumstances are evident and can be substantiated. See registrar.ucmerced.edu/policies/petitionacademicpolicy for additional information.

Course Substitutions

Students may petition the appropriate dean to substitute a suitable course in place of a required course. Petition forms are available at the appropriate School sites: School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts.

Repetition of Courses

An undergraduate student may repeat only those courses in which a grade of D+, D, D-, F, U, or Not Passed was received. Undergraduate courses in which a grade of D+, D, D-, or F has been earned may not be repeated on a passed/not passed basis. Similarly, a graduate course in which a grade below a B, or a grade of U, was received may be repeated only once (and may not be repeated on a S/U basis). Repetition of a course more than once requires approval by the appropriate dean in all instances. Degree credit for a course will be given only once, but the grade assigned at each enrollment shall be permanently recorded.

Only the most recently earned grade and grade points shall be used in computing the student grade point average for the first 16 University of California units that undergraduate students repeat. For graduate students, only the most recently earned grades will be used in computing the student grade point average for the first 8 units of repeated course work. In the case of further repetitions, the grade point average shall be based on all grades assigned and total units attempted.

Enrollment Status

Certification of Full-Time Status: Undergraduate students must carry a study load of at least 15 units each semester in order to maintain normal progress toward their degree. At least 12 units are required for undergraduates to be certified as full-time students for financial aid purposes and to meet minimum progress requirements. Graduate students must carry a study load of at least 8 units each semester in order to be certified as full-time students. A graduate student must be enrolled in 12 units to qualify for university employment or to receive a university fellowship.

Part-Time Student Status: If, for reasons of occupation, family responsibility, health or graduating senior status (one semester only), a student is unable to attend the university on a full-time basis, he/she may qualify for enrollment in part-time status. The student must file for part-time status each semester. To be considered eligible during the specific semester, undergraduate students must be registered for 10 units or fewer by the 10th day of instruction and graduate students must be registered in 6 units or fewer by the end of the second week of instruction. Minimum progress requirements are waived for approved part-time students. Undergraduate request for part-time status forms are available on the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/forms, and for graduate students at the Graduate Studies website at graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu. Students approved for enrollment on a part-time basis pay the same student services fee and campus based fees as full-time students, but pay only one-half of the tuition. Part-time Nonresidents pay one-half of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. Undergraduates file their part-time request with the Office of the Registrar; graduate students file their request with the Graduate Studies Division.

Educational Leave Program

The Educational Leave Program allows students to suspend academic work at UC Merced, leave the campus and later resume studies at UC Merced with a minimum of procedural difficulties. Any registered student on the UC Merced campus, undergraduate or graduate, is eligible to enroll in the Educational Leave Program, although restrictions may be imposed on the number of times a student can participate in the program. International students are not eligible. The maximum Educational Leave is one full academic year. Applications should be filed no later than the tenth day of instruction, although exceptions can be made for medical or emergency reasons. For information regarding how the leave status will affect financial aid eligibility, please see the financial aid section  of the catalog.

A $40 application fee must be paid prior to the student’s enrollment in the program. Approved applications submitted after the first day of instruction will entitle the student to only a partial refund of fees paid, in accordance with the Schedule of Refunds. The Schedule of Refunds refers to calendar days beginning with the first day of instruction. The effective date for determining a refund of fees is the date the completed and approved form is returned to the Office of the Registrar.

While students may receive academic credit at other institutions and transfer this credit to UC Merced (subject to rules concerning transfer credit and School approval), participants are reminded that the intent of the program is to “suspend academic work.” Therefore, students should consult with their academic advisors and carefully evaluate the desirability of taking academic work while away from the campus during leave. Students enrolled in program are not eligible to enroll in concurrent courses at the UC Merced campus or to earn academic credit at UC Merced during the leave.

Reinstatement for Educational Leaves initiated prior to the first day of the semester are guaranteed. For students who seek a leave after the tenth day of the semester, reinstatement conditions are determined as part of the leave approval. Students also must satisfy any holds that may have been placed on their registration, and pay registration fees by the established deadlines for the semester specified for return on the approved application. Students who do not return by the specified semester will be automatically withdrawn from the University.

Students will not be eligible to receive normal university services during the leave. Certain limited services, however, such as career services and advising are available. Students on leave are not eligible to apply for on-campus or off-campus jobs except during the summer prior to their return for the fall semester. Students on leave may elect to purchase the Student Health Insurance Plan for one term, but are not eligible to use the Student Health Center. UCM Library borrowing privileges may be retained by purchasing a library card.

International Opportunities Programs (IOP) Leave

If you are planning to study abroad with a non-UC program, you may take an IOP Leave. This leave option is specifically designed to enable students to participate in a program external to UC while still maintaining their student status. You may request approval for this leave at the International Center in Room KL 101. The leave may allow financial aid to transfer, includes pre-approval of transfer credit and retains your UC Merced email address.

The Senior Residence Requirement may be waived if you study abroad through the Education Abroad Program. However if you study abroad with an external program you must comply with the senior Residency Requirement that states that 24 of your last 36 units must be completed on the UC Merced campus. Your last two semesters before graduation cannot be spent studying on a non-UC program.

Normal Progress to Degree

UC Merced undergraduate degree programs are designed to be completed in eight semesters or four academic years. To meet the normal progress requirement, undergraduate students are expected to enroll in and pass an average of 15 units per semester, completing the 120 units necessary for graduation in four years. An extension of enrollment beyond nine semesters requires the approval of the student’s School.

Planning for a Major

The decision on the choice of a major is a very important one and should be made on the basis of a student’s interests and abilities as well as his or her career goals. Students should look carefully into the programs available by using this catalog and visiting Schools in which they are interested.

Students are encouraged to declare a major as soon as possible and should begin thinking about possible majors in their first year at UC Merced. Some major requirements demand a full four years to complete. Since students are expected to declare into a major by the time they have completed 60 units, the lower division major requirements should be planned into the student’s program for the first two years.

Declaration and Change of Major

In order to declare or change a major/concentration/minor a student must fill out a Change of Major or Change of Minor request and have it approved by the dean or other authorized person in the School to which he/she is declaring or transferring and submit it to the Students First Center. This form is available on the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/forms. Current students are only permitted to change their major/concentration/minor until the end of the third week of the semester and throughout the summer. Admission into a program may be denied or deferred if the student is in academic difficulty or has a grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.0 in courses required for the selected major.

Except under unusual circumstances, no change of major/concentration/minor will be permitted after a student has attained senior standing (90 units). It is not possible to change or declare a major/concentration/minor after the student has declared their candidacy with the Office of the Registrar.

NOTE: Certain schools and majors have criteria a student must meet in order to qualify for that major, more stringent than academic standing and a minimum of 2.0 grade point average (GPA).

Multiple Majors

A student in good academic standing who wishes to declare more than one major must petition the undergraduate School(s) responsible for the majors and receive School Dean’s (Deans’) approval. A School Dean may deny the petition for the additional major(s) if it is determined by the School(s) that there is too much overlap in the proposed coursework to justify allowing the student to receive the additional major(s).

No more than 12 upper-division units (excluding units required for School and university-level general education) may be used to satisfy requirements for all majors simultaneously, whether these units are explicitly required by the majors or count as electives toward the majors.

Students must satisfy all requirements for each major, including general education requirements across Schools, if applicable. Coursework for the majors must be completed in 165 semester units or 11 semesters, whichever is greater, from the onset of college work, including AP and transfer credit.

Majors earned will be noted on the student’s transcript and diploma. If the majors lead to different degrees (B.A. and B.S.), that fact will be noted on the transcript and the two-degree designations will appear on the diploma. A student who has declared multiple majors may choose to graduate with fewer majors, but if so may not continue at the University to complete any remaining major(s).


In order to declare or change a minor, a student must fill out a Change of Major/Minor request and have it approved by the dean or other authorized person in the School to which he/she is declaring and submit it to the Students First Center.

Except under unusual circumstances, no change of minor or declaration of minor will be permitted after a student has attained senior standing (90 units). It is not possible to change or declare a minor after the student has declared their candidacy with the Office of the Registrar.

Additional Enrollment Opportunities

Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS)

The goal of the University of California’s Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program is to educate California’s future leaders by preparing promising students for advanced education in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM). The program is designed to identify upper division undergraduate students with the potential to succeed in these disciplines, but who have experienced situations or conditions that have adversely impacted their advancement in their field of study. Participants receive benefits such as research funding and summer room and board.

Once chosen as UC LEADS Scholars, students embark upon a two year program of scientific research and graduate school preparation guided by individual faculty mentors. Scholars are provided with an excellent opportunity to explore their discipline, experience a research environment, and improve their opportunities for future study in their chosen field. The Scholar gains valuable educational experience, the University a better prepared and more diverse graduate applicant pool, and the State, well-educated future leaders. Each Scholar is mentored by a member of UC the faculty, who assists the student in designing a plan of research and enrichment activities fitted to the individual interests and academic goals of the Scholar. This “Action Plan” includes:

  • academic year research
  • paid summer research experience
  • participation in the University-wide UC LEADS Symposium
  • attendance at professional or scientific society meetings
  • travel to another UC campus
  • academic enrichment activities, including preparation for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

For further information, contact the Graduate Division.

McNair Scholars Program

McNair Scholars are ambitious students from underrepresented groups in the professoriate, who aspire to earn a Ph.D. in any academic discipline. Participants receive summer research funding, as well as access to faculty mentoring, networking opportunities, workshops and field trips, and various other activities that help them to build the confidence that they will need to succeed in graduate school and beyond. This program is open to students of junior standing and higher. The aim of this program is to diversify the professoriate. This program honors the memory of Dr. Ronald McNair, who lost his life in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion after overcoming the hardships of life in a segregated, impoverished community, and then reaching the heights of a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland. For further information, contact the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

The University of California Washington Center (UCDC)

UCDC is an academic program created in 1997 for the purpose of providing students the opportunity to continue their studies while interning in Washington, D.C. Moreover, the availability of a credit-based research seminar that satisfies upper-division course requirements for a number of majors affords students the opportunity to reflect on their intern experiences in an academic exercise. UCDC is also a residential program with apartments at the centrally-located UC Washington Center. Not only does this facilitate relocating temporarily in the nation’s capital, the Center offers students a rich exposure to the Washington community through tours and an evening speaker series. For further information, contact Professor Nathan Monroe.

UC Center at Sacramento (UCCS)

The UCCS Academic Program gives undergraduate and graduate students a rare opportunity to learn about California’s public policy and journalistic processes firsthand. The program includes rigorous coursework as well as professional experiences while living, interning and conducting research in the State Capitol. Offered during academic semesters and summer, students enroll in classes while working 24-40 hours per week in internship placements. The UC Center at Sacramento nurtures the ongoing dialogue between the UC and Capitol Communities, promoting excellence in public policy through academics, research and public service. For further information, please visit uccs.ucdavis.edu or email careerservices@ucmerced.edu.

Intercampus Visitor (ICV)

The ICV Program allows qualified undergraduate students at UCM to take advantage of educational opportunities at other UC campuses. This program allows students who are currently in good standing, have completed at least one year in residence on their home campus and have maintained a grade point average of at least 2.0 for work completed, and obtained approval from the Dean of their school to take courses that are not available at their home campus, participate in special programs, or study with a distinguished faculty member at another campus for one term. Students who meet the above requirements should complete an application available at the Students First Center (or see registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/forms).

Note: The host campus pays the visiting student’s financial aid. If you are a financial aid recipient, you must have a copy of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) sent to the home campus. Use your Student Aid Report (SAR) to make this change.

Simultaneous Enrollment

UC undergraduate students may enroll, without formal admission and without payment of additional University fees, in courses at another UC campus on a space available basis at the discretion of the appropriate campus authorities on both campuses. Students qualify for this program when they have completed a minimum of 12 units as a matriculated student at the home campus (this requirement can be waived at the discretion of the dean of the appropriate School); are enrolled at both campuses in the current term with a minimum of 12 units as a matriculated student at the home campus; are in good academic standing; and are certified by their home campus as to eligibility, residence, fee, financial aid and health status. To participate in this program, please contact the Students First Center to obtain the application that must be filled out by appropriate authorities on both campuses and to ensure that the application of a non-home UC course will or will not satisfy degree, graduation, major, General Education or other specific requirements (other than unit credit). Failure to ensure the applicability of the non-home UC course to UC Merced requirements could result in a refusal to allow the course to satisfy any specific requirements (other than unit requirements).

Intercampus Exchange Program for Graduate Students

A graduate student registered on the UC Merced campus may become an intercampus exchange student for a full term at any of the other UC campuses with the approval of the graduate advisor, the director of the graduate group and the deans of Graduate Studies on both the home and host campuses. To be eligible, the graduate student must have attended UC Merced for a minimum of one semester before participating in the intercampus exchange program. Students are limited to a maximum of two consecutive semester based terms or three quarter-based terms on intercampus exchange. Permission for exchange is done on a semester-by-semester basis. Application forms may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies and should be submitted four weeks in advance of the semester in which you wish to participate.

Intercampus exchange students register at both campuses and pay fees on their home campus; however, they have access to student services available on the host campus. Students should make arrangements with the Office of the Registrar to follow the enrollment procedure of the host campus so that the grades students obtain in courses taken on the host campus will be transferred to records on their home campus. Grades from courses completed on the host campus will be transferred to the home campus and become part of the student’s official graduate transcript. Exchange students are considered graduate students in residence on the home campus and are not formally admitted to the host graduate school and department. For further information, contact Graduate Studies and the Office of the Registrar.

UC Merced and Merced College Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment Program

UC Merced and Merced College have created an Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment agreement that allows approved full-time undergraduate students from either institution to cross-enroll in one course per term (fall or spring). For eligibility requirements and approval guidelines, please see information available on the Office of the Registrar website at registrar.ucmerced.edu/services/special-programs.

Concurrent Credit from Another Institution

With the exception of currently registered students participating in the UC/CSU/Community College Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment Program or the UC Merced and Merced College Intersegmental Cross-Enrollment Program, a student may not obtain transfer credit for courses at a non-University of California campus in a term during which the student is registered as a full-time student at UC Merced. An exception can be obtained only by petitioning the appropriate School dean well in advance of the desired registration, and the student must still be enrolled in at least 12 units at UC Merced during the term in which the exception applies.


Midterm Examinations

The number of midterm examinations varies at the discretion of the instructor. In undergraduate courses for which a midterm examination is required, each student has the right to take the midterm (or submit the take-home examination as required by the instructor) during one of the regularly scheduled class meetings. Dates and times for mid-terms scheduled outside of regularly scheduled class meeting times must be listed in the Schedule of Classes prior to registration. If an out-of-class exam is not listed in the Schedule of Classes, the scheduling of a midterm examination at a time other than a regularly scheduled class meeting requires mutual consent of the instructor and each student registered in the course. A student who does not consent in writing to the different time must be permitted to take the examination (or submit the take home examination) at the officially scheduled time. A student who consents in writing to the change of examination time waives the right to take the midterm at the officially scheduled time.

Final Examinations

The Schedule of Classes lists the times that final examinations are to be held. This information is available online or in the Schedule of Classes each semester so that students can avoid final examination conflicts. A student who has multiple exams on the same day may discuss the situation with the instructors of the course. An instructor has the option to agree to provide the student the exam on a different day, but is not required to do so.


Final exams are scheduled according to the day-and-hour periods in which the classes are given during the semester. Once instruction begins, if a change to the time of a scheduled final exam is necessary, all students in the class must agree to the schedule change in writing. Schools offering multiple sections of the same courses may elect to schedule a common exam. Check with your instructor to determine if your class is scheduled for one of the common examination times.


Students with documented disabilities may be entitled to in-class accommodations. The student must provide the instructor with a letter from the Disability Services Office recommending those academic accommodations that the instructor is responsible for providing. Students must request accommodation as soon as possible to allow the university reasonable time to evaluate the request and offer necessary adjustments. No accommodations shall alter the nature of the academic demands made of the student nor decrease the standards and types of academic performance, nor require facilities or personnel that cannot reasonably be provided. The instructor should consult with the student and the Disability Services Center with any questions or concerns.

Religious Observances

UC Merced seeks to accommodate any student who, in observance of a religious creed, encounters an unavoidable conflict with an examination schedule. In order to request accommodation, the student is responsible for providing, in writing and at the beginning of the semester, notification of a potential conflict to the individual responsible for administering the examination. Instructors will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis and determine whether such conflicts can be resolved without imposing on the instructor or the other students in the class an undue hardship that cannot be reasonably avoided. If so, the instructor will determine, in consultation with the student, a time during which the student can take the examination without incurring a penalty or violation of the student’s religious creed.

Credit by Examination

Students currently registered in any regular semester and in good academic standing who by reason of advance preparation believe themselves to be adequately grounded in the materials and principles of a given course may request credit by examination for any course offered at UC Merced without formally enrolling in that course. Students may obtain a form and a copy of the prescribed conditions from the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu.

The request is subject to the approval of the instructor giving the examination and the dean of the School involved. Once the request has the signed approvals of the appropriate dean, it should be submitted to the Students First Center, accompanied by the mandatory fee.

Owing to special features of the instruction, such as extensive laboratory work, certain courses may not be considered appropriate for obtaining credit by examination. In addition, credit by examination will not be approved in the following circumstances:

  1. for a student who has had prior instruction in the topic,
  2. for the purpose of repeating a course,
  3. for courses in subjects in which the student has completed more advanced work,
  4. for elementary and intermediate courses in a student’s native language or
  5. for granting credit for a course which the student has attended and audited.

To earn credit through the credit by examination process, the examination must be given by a UC Merced instructor and be for a course listed in the current Catalog. The final results will be reported to the Office of the Registrar, who will record the appropriate grade (P/NP). Since failure to pass the examination will be recorded as an NP, students are encouraged to prepare fully for such an examination before attempting it.

Grades, Progress To Degree And Dismissal


The work of all students on the UC Merced campus is reported in terms of the following grades:

A+ (excellent)

A (excellent)

A- (excellent)

B+ (good)

B (good)

B- (good)

C+ (fair)

C (fair)

C- (fair)

D+ (barely passing)

D (barely passing)

D- (barely passing)

F (not passing)

P (passed at a minimum level of C- or better by an undergraduate student)

S (satisfactory - passed at a minimum level of B or better by a graduate student)

NP (not passed)

U (unsatisfactory)

I (incomplete)

IP (in progress)

NR (no report, when an instructor fails to report a grade for a student)

Credit Toward Degree Requirements

A course in which the grade A, B, C, D, P or S is received is counted toward undergraduate degree requirements. A course in which the grade F, NP or U is received is not counted toward degree requirements. Grades of I or IP are not counted until they are replaced by grades A, B, C, D, P or S. Course minimum grade requirements may differ depending on the program. Students should check with their academic advisor to confirm.

Grade Points

Grade points are assigned as follows: A+ = 4.0, A =4.0, A-= 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- =1.7, D+ = 1.3, D = 1.0, D-= 0.7, F = 0.0. The grades P, S, NP, U, I and IP carry no grade points and the units in courses so graded are excluded in determination of the grade point average.

Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average is computed on courses undertaken in the University of California, with the exception of courses undertaken in University Extension. Grades A, B, C, D and F are used in determining the grade point average; grades I, IP, P, S, NP and U carry no grade points and are excluded from all grade point computations. Grade point average is calculated by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of units undertaken.

Change of Grade

All grades except Incomplete and In Progress are considered final when assigned by an instructor at the end of a term. An instructor may request a change of grade when a computational or procedural error has occurred in the original assignment of a grade, but a grade may not be changed as a result of re-evaluation of a student’s work. No final grade may be revised as a result of re-examination or the submission of additional work after the close of the semester.

Grade changes for “clerical” errors (such as incorrect addition of points), upon documentation, are automatically granted. Requests to interchange P, NP, S or U grades with normal letter grades based upon student need (such as to allow graduation or to meet entrance requirements for professional school) do not involve clerical or procedural errors and are automatically denied. Thus, students should exercise the Passed/Not Passed or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading options with caution.

Students are reminded of their responsibility to be aware of the procedures and regulations contained in this catalog and the Schedule of Classes, to verify their class schedule and to familiarize themselves with the expectations of their instructors. No changes, except completion of an I grade as noted above, can be made to the student’s record once he or she has graduated.

Grade I (Incomplete)

The grade of I may be assigned when the instructor determines that a student’s work is of passing quality and represents a significant portion of the requirements for a final grade, but is incomplete for a good cause (good cause may include current illness, serious personal problems, an accident, a recent death in the immediate family, a large and necessary increase in working hours or other situations of equal gravity). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain written permission from the instructor to receive an I grade as opposed to a non-passing grade. An Incomplete form is available from the Office of the Registrar’s website and must be filed prior to the end of the final examination period. If, however, extenuating circumstances exist where submission of the I grade form is not possible before the end of the final examination period, an instructor may submit an I grade; however, the form, including student and instructor signatures, must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester (which would include the summer sessions). If the form is not received by the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester, then the I grade will revert to an F, NP, or U.

If an I grade is assigned, students may receive unit credit and grade points by satisfactorily completing the coursework as specified by the instructor. Students cannot re-enroll in the course to complete an I grade. Doing so would result in the course being recorded twice on the transcript.

I grades are not counted in computing the grade point average. An I grade received in the fall term must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following fall term. An I grade received in the spring or summer terms must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following spring term.

Except as noted below, any I grade that has not been replaced within the deadlines will revert to an F, NP, or U. The grade will retroactively be counted in computing a student’s grade point average.

Filing a Graduation Application with an outstanding Incomplete grade on your record or with outstanding transfer work may prevent degree conferral, and you will be required to re-file for a later term. Exception: If a degree is conferred before the end of the deadlines above following the assignment of an I grade, the grade will not be converted to an F, NP, or U. However, the student still has the option of removing the I grade within the deadlines above. Students with 15 or more units of I on their record may not register without permission of the appropriate dean.

Grade IP (In Progress)

For a course extending over more than one semester where the evaluation of the student’s performance is deferred until the end of the final semester, provisional grades of In Progress (IP) shall be assigned in the intervening terms. The provisional grades shall be replaced by the final grade if the student completes the full sequence. The grade IP is not included in the grade point average. If the full sequence of courses is not completed, the IP will be replaced by a grade of Incomplete. Further changes in the student’s record will be subject to the rules pertaining to I grades.

Grading Options

Unless otherwise stated in the course description, each course is letter graded with a P/NP or S/U option (unless required for your major or graduate program), not including Freshman Seminars which are always P/NP courses.

Students have until the end of the second week of each semester to change the grade option on a course via MyRegistration, accessible through MyUCMerced. After the second week of each semester and up until the last day of instruction for that semester, a student may only change the grade option on a course with the approval of their School dean using the Petition of Academic Policy form at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/forms. Students in good standing who are changing a grade option for a course from a letter grade to a P/NP option must conform to the rules guiding the taking of courses on a P/NP basis (see section on Passed/Not Passed).

Grade Passed/Not Passed (P/NP)

Undergraduate students in good standing who are enrolled in at least 12 units may take certain courses on a passed/not passed (P/NP) basis. Students may enroll in one course each term on a P/NP basis (two courses if they have not elected the P/NP in the preceding term), not including Freshman Seminars which are always P/NP courses.

Changes to and from the P/NP option must be made during the enrollment period. No changes can be made after the first two weeks of classes without the approval of the appropriate dean. A student may not repeat on a P/NP basis a course that was previously taken on a letter-graded basis.

The grade P is assigned for a letter grade of C- or better. If the student earns a grade of D+ or below, the grade will be recorded as NP. In both cases, the student’s grade will not be computed into the grade point average.

Credit for courses taken on a P/NP basis is limited to one-third of the total units taken and passed on the UC Merced campus at the time the degree is awarded. A course that is required or a prerequisite for a student’s major may be taken on a P/NP basis only upon approval of the faculty. Schools may designate some courses as passed/not passed only. Students do not have the option of taking these courses for a letter grade.

Grade Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U)

The grade of S is awarded to graduate students for work in graduate courses that otherwise would receive a grade of B or better.

Graduate students, under certain circumstances, may be assigned grades of S or U, but units earned in this way will not be counted in calculating the grade point average. Forms to elect S/U grading are available from the Graduate Division’s website at gradstudies.ucmerced.edu and must be signed by the student’s graduate advisor. Graduate students may request to take no more than one course per term on an S/U grading basis. A graduate course in which a C, D or F grade is received may not be repeated with the S/U option.

In specific approved courses, instructors will assign only Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grades. Such courses count toward the maximum number of units graded S allowable toward the degree, as specified by each degree program.

Mid-Semester Grades

Mid-semester grades provide students in lower division courses with early feedback (both positive and negative) about their academic performance. Mid-semester grades provide an opportunity for students to receive positive reinforcement and motivation if they are doing well, and to identify those who are struggling. Mid-semester grades allow faculty, advisors, and services on campus to intervene with students who are in academic difficulty, while there is still time in the semester. Mid-semester grades for all lower division courses only are reported at the end of the eighth week of the semester, and all grades are submitted as letter grades for letter-graded courses (regardless of whether the student has elected to take the course as P/NP). If a course is P/NP only, all grades will be submitted as P/ NP. Mid-semester grades are notational grades which are used to help ensure the academic success of UC Merced students in lower division courses. These grades are not recorded in any permanent record or on a student’s academic transcript.

All mid-semester grades of D+, D, D- or F on any course requires freshmen-only students to attend a one-hour Academic Success Workshop. Attendance is mandatory and a hold for future semester course registration will be placed for non-participation in the one-hour workshop. Sophomores with a D+, D, D- or F grade are encouraged to attend an Academic Success Workshop, however, they can have the hold for future semester course registration released by meeting with their academic advisor.

Final Grades

After grades are recorded for a semester or summer session, they are available online via MyStudentRecord (accessible via MyUCMerced). With the availability of online grade reporting, students can print their grade reports from the Internet.

Dean’s Honor List

Undergraduate students will be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List if they have earned in any one semester a minimum of 12 graded units with a 3.5 grade point average or better with no grade of I or NP. Dean’s Honors are listed on student transcripts. Any student who has been found to violate the academic integrity policies during an academic year will not be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List during that academic year.

Chancellor’s Honors List

Undergraduate students who are placed on the Dean’s Honor List for both semesters in a single academic year (fall and spring) will be placed on the Chancellor’s Honor List for that academic year.

Probation, Dismissal, and Minimum Progress

A. Academic Probation

An undergraduate student is placed on academic probation if one of the following occurs:

  1. The student’s semester grade point average is less than 2.0, or
  2. The student’s cumulative University of California grade point average is less than 2.0.

Probation Status: Academic review occurs at the end of each academic semester. When a student is placed on academic probation, the university notifies the student, and the student’s official transcript states “Academic Probation” for the affected semester. While on academic probation, the student is under the supervision of his/her School or advising unit.

Removal from Declared Major: A student on probation may be removed from a declared major or changed to Undeclared due to failure to meet the particular standards or fulfill specific requirements that the student’s School may impose. If the student is removed from a declared major or changed to Undeclared, the student may apply to be reinstated to a School as follows:

Lower Division Students (fewer than 60 units earned at the end of the semester in which the student applies) must meet these requirements:

  • Cumulative University of California grade point average of at least 2.0
  • Current semester grade point average of at least 2.0
  • Major grade point average of 2.0-2.5 (minimum varies by School)
  • Completion of all lower division major courses with grades of C- or higher

Upper Division Students (greater than 60 units earned at the end of the semester in which the student applies) must meet the requirements listed above for Lower Division students and must also complete 8-16 units (minimum varies by School) of upper division major requirements.

Return to Good Standing: Once a student has met grade point average standards listed above, the student’s academic status returns to regular academic standing.

B. Academic Dismissal

An undergraduate student is subject to academic dismissal from the university if one of the following occurs:

  1. The student has been on academic probation for two or more semesters and the student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, or
  2. The student’s semester grade point average is less than 1.5 and the student’s cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0.

Academic Dismissal Appeals: A student not previously on probation who earns a semester grade point average below 1.5 is offered the opportunity to appeal dismissal. The student who is subject to academic dismissal and does not complete the appeal process as prescribed is automatically dismissed. The student whose appeal is approved returns on probation and is under the supervision of the appropriate School or advising unit.

Dismissal Status: When a student is academically dismissed, the university notifies the student, and the student’s official transcript states “Academic Dismissal” for the affected semester.

Note: A student who is academically dismissed may return after fulfilling reinstatement requirements (see the Reinstatement policy on the Office of the Registrar website at registrar.ucmerced.edu).

C. Minimum Progress

An undergraduate student is subject to administrative probation if the student does not complete a minimum of 24 University of California units during an academic year, including summer. 

Return to Good Standing: Once the student has completed 24 units during a subsequent academic year, the student’s minimum progress status returns to good standing. 

Note: Minimum unit completion does not apply to part-time students or to students who have a Dean’s approval to carry fewer units than the minimum progress load (reasons may include medical disability, employment, a serious personal problem, a recent death in the immediate family, the primary responsibility for the care of a family, or a serious accident involving the student).


Reinstatement is the act of restoring active-student status to former students who have withdrawn from the University, had their student matriculation interrupted by a lapse of their student status (for failure to pay fees, failure to satisfy the entry level writing requirement, failure to enroll in future semesters, or failure to graduate), or who left the University in academic difficulty (academic probation, special probation, subject to disqualification, or academically dismissed). Undergraduate students who wish to return to the University of California, Merced must file an application for reinstatement with the Office of the Registrar by the deadlines listed below.

Reinstatement Filing Period:

Fall Semester –November - May 1
Spring Semester – May - November 1

Students should begin the process of reinstatement at least six weeks before the deadline. Submitting the application, along with the nonrefundable application fee of $70.00 as early as possible will provide enough time to review the application and have a reinstated student register before new incoming students are scheduled to register for classes. Students who do not enroll in the semester to which they are reinstatedmust file a new reinstatement application and pay the application fee to return in a future semester. For more information, see registrar.ucmerced.edu/policies/reinstatement.

Transfer with Scholastic Deficiencies

To transfer from one campus of the University to another, or from one School to another on the same campus, a student who has been academically disqualified or is on academic probation must obtain the approval of the dean to whose jurisdiction the student seeks to transfer.

Transcripts and Records

Transcripts may be ordered via the National Clearing House website. See the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/transcripts for further information. At times other than the end of the semester, the normal period required for processing transcripts for both registered and former students is 1 to 3 business days after receipt of the student’s request. There is a $12 charge for each routine transcript request and $40 charge for each express mail transcript request. Electronic transcripts are available and are $20 per transcript. The student’s financial account must be paid in full prior to the processing of the transcript request, and the transcript fees must be paid online through the National Clearing House.

Access to Records

Students are entitled by law and University policy to examine and challenge most of the records that the University maintains on them. These records are confidential and in most circumstances may be released to third parties only with the student’s prior consent. See information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy act at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/ferpa. Transcripts and other documents submitted from other institutions and agencies are the property of UC Merced and will not be reissued to applicants, students, alumni or other parties.

Change of Name and Address

Students may request to change their name on official University records. The form can be downloaded from the Office of the Registrar’s website at registrar.ucmerced.edu/go/forms. Legally recognized proof of the change of name will be required before the petition is accepted and processed. (Students planning to graduate should file this request no later than the fifth week of the semester in which they intend to graduate.) Students may also update their address(es) using MyStudentRecord.

Leaving UC Merced

Students who find that they cannot attend the University for a semester in which they have enrolled may cancel their registration only if instruction for that semester has not yet begun. To do so, they must formally request a cancellation or withdrawal of their registration from the Office of the Registrar after obtaining all appropriate signatures.

If instruction has already begun and students find it necessary to stop attending all classes, they must formally request withdrawal from the University. When a completed withdrawal form is approved by the dean of the School with which the student is affiliated (after the third week of instruction), a W notation will be assigned for each course in which the student has been enrolled. Students will not be eligible to re-enroll until they have been reinstated. Before considering a complete withdrawal, students must consult an academic advisor and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, if appropriate, to consider the full implications of this action.

Please see the refund policies for specific details on refund rules. Students who fail to submit the required paperwork for cancellation/withdrawal will receive F, NP or U grades, as appropriate, for all courses in which they are enrolled for that semester.


Residency Requirement

Each candidate for the bachelor’s degree must complete 24 of the last 36 units in residence in the school of the University of California in which the degree is to be earned. Under certain circumstances, the appropriate dean or Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education may grant exceptions, such as when a student attends classes at another UC campus as an approved visitor or participates in one of the following: UC Education Abroad, UC Washington Center Program or UC Sacramento Center.

Scholarship Requirement

To receive a bachelor’s degree, a candidate must have a cumulative 2.0 grade point average.

Undergraduate Students

Graduation Application

Students expecting to complete work for their degree by the end of a semester must declare their intent to graduate by submitting an application, accompanied by the appropriate fee, for the semester in which they plan to receive the degree. Students have until February 15 of each year to file to graduate in the spring semester, until June 15 to file to graduate in the summer term, or until September 15 of each year to file to graduate in the fall semester. For more information, see registrar.ucmerced.edu/policies/graduation.

Degree Check

The Office of the Registrar will check all pertinent records to ensure that the student has completed a minimum of 120 units and appropriate institutional requirements. The student’s School will check for the fulfillment of major and School requirements.


UC Merced students can check their degree progress at any time using MyAudit online through my.ucmerced.edu. MyAudit analyzes degree requirements for a major, concentration, and minor according to the catalog year when a student enters UC Merced. The audit gives a complete picture regarding what degree requirements have been met, are in progress, and are remaining. It is a quick tool that can be used to check progress in toward any degree program. Although MyAudit provides a comprehensive description of program requirements, it is unofficial and not intended to supplement the role of the School advisors, who help students with course selection and assist in making informed decisions. See registrar.ucmerced.edu/myaudit for more information.

Honors at Graduation

To be eligible for honors at graduation, a student must have completed a minimum of 50 semester units at the University of California, of which a minimum of 43 units must have been taken for a letter grade and a minimum of 30 units must have been completed at UC Merced. The grade point average achieved must rank in the top 2 percent of the student’s School for highest honors, the next 4 percent for high honors, and the next 10 percent for honors at graduation. The number of recipients eligible under these percentages shall be rounded up to the next higher integer.

Graduate Students

Before a graduate degree can be conferred, candidates must have been advanced to candidacy and completed the master’s thesis (if required) or doctoral dissertation and any required comprehensive or oral examinations. For assistance, go to the Graduate Division office.


UC Merced conducts its annual Commencement ceremony following the spring semester. Graduating students are strongly encouraged to participate with their classmates. Commencement celebrates the academic achievements of our undergraduate and graduate students and the impact they will have as they transition from the University to the world beyond.

Each student may participate in only one Commencement ceremony as an undergraduate. Graduate students may participate in two ceremonies if master’s and doctoral degrees are conferred in separate years. Undergraduates may choose to participate in the Commencement ceremony if they completed their degree requirements the prior fall, or if they anticipate completing their degree requirements in spring, summer or the next fall semester.

Students who complete their degree requirements in a fall semester may elect to participate in Commencement the spring prior to their completion date or they may cross the stage the following spring.

Participating in Commencement does not indicate confirmation that degree requirements have been fulfilled. Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement and degrees are not awarded until all requirements are completed.


Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement, but are available several months afterward. The Office of the Registrar emails students when diplomas are mailed and will retain diplomas for five years only.