Academic Difficulty

If you are having difficulty with your SFU courses, you need to make an appointment with an academic advisor as soon as possible. This applies if you are currently on Academic Probation (OAP), in which case an academic advisor will help you try to get back into Good Academic Standing.

This section of the website will help explain the different academic standings such as

  • Academic Probation (OAP)
  • Required to Withdraw (RTW)
  • Extended Withdrawal (EW)

This section will also explain policies associated with academic difficulty, such as repeating courses and how to get back into Good Academic Standing.

If you experience unusual circumstances beyond your control which make it impossible for you to complete the course, you may wish to apply for a Withdrawal under Extenuating Circumstances.

Academic Probation

How does Academic Probation work?

When you begin your first term at SFU, you are considered to be in Good Academic Standing. However, once you have attempted nine units, your record is evaluated at the end of each term and your standing may change.

If you have attempted at least 9 units in one or more terms and your cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is below 2.00, you will be placed on Academic Probation (OAP). Even if you pass every course, sustained performance at the marginal pass level (C- or D) will lead to a CGPA below 2.00 and result in being placed on Academic Probation (OAP).

Students who are on Academic Probation may not be approved for a "Letter of Permission" (LOP) in order to take courses at another post-secondary institution. If you have any questions or concerns, please book an appointment to speak with an Academic Advisor.

Download Guide to Academic Standing and Continuance

How do I get off Academic Probation?

Your Academic Standing will be re-evaluated at the end of the next completed term. In order to get back into Good Academic Standing (GAS), you will need to attain a 2.00 or higher in both your Term and Cumulative GPAs.

Below is a list of possible standings dependent upon your Term and Cumulative GPA when on Academic Probation (OAP):

Download your transcript from goSFU (go.sfu.ca) . If your:

Term GPA ≥ 2.000 AND CGPA ≥ 2.000 → Back to Good Academic Standing (GAS)
Term GPA ≥ 2.000 AND CGPA < 2.000 → Continue on Academic Probation (CAP)
Term GPA < 2.000 AND CGPA ≥ 2.000 → Continue on Academic Probation (CAP)
Term GPA < 2.000 AND CGPA < 2.000 → Required to Withdraw (RTW)

How many times can I be on Academic Probation?

You may be on Continued Academic Probation (CAP) for as long as it takes for you to attain a Term GPA of 2.00 or higher. If you are on CAP, you may repeat courses you have failed. To graduate, you need a CGPA of 2.00 or higher. You cannot graduate if you are on Academic Probation indefinitely.

Where can I get assistance?

To assist you with course planning and to improve your academic standing, we encourage you to seek assistance from an academic advisor within Student Services. Academic advisors are available to offer advice on your academic program and referrals to various supports and workshops on campus. Advisors also work with you to develop a plan to get off Academic Probation.

See our Contact Us page for information on how to book an appointment with an academic advisor.

Required to Withdraw

What are Required to Withdraw and Extended Withdrawal?

You will be Required to Withdraw (RTW) from SFU if your Term GPA is below 2.00 AND your CGPA is also below 2.00 while on Academic Probation (OAP).

If you are RTW, you may not enroll in classes at SFU. If already enrolled for the next term, your enrolment will be cancelled and any fees paid for that term will be refunded upon application for a tuition refund.

How can I get back into SFU if I am Required to Withdraw?

Take the opportunity to resolve the factors that may have affected your studies. There are two options for continuing your studies at SFU:

Option 1

Consult BC Transfer Guide to determine if a course is equivalent to one you've taken at SFU or taken before entering SFU.

Step 1: Enroll in transferable courses at another recognized postsecondary institution.

Readmission decisions are based on the units and CGPA achieved in transferable academic work completed at another recognized postsecondary institution.

Repeat attempts at courses which you have passed (C or higher) before leaving SFU will not be in the calculation of GPA for readmission.

You may not take courses that are lower than the level already completed at SFU for readmission. For example, if you successfully completed SFU MATH 157, you may not take MATH 100, MATH XXX, or MATH 1XX for readmission.

Step 2: Complete any ONE of the five combinations listed below at the new postsecondary institution:
  • 12 - 17 units with a minimum 3.50 GPA
  • 18 - 23 units with a minimum 3.00 GPA
  • 24 - 29 units with a minimum 2.75 GPA or with the acceptance GPA* , whichever is higher.
  • 30 or more units with the acceptance GPA*
  • A completed 2 year technical diploma with a 70% minimum average and at least 12 units of transferable course work with a minimum 2.75 GPA (the transferable work may be within the diploma program or supplementary to it)
Step 3:

Apply for readmission by the deadlines* listed on the admission website (see link below). Application is done online at the EducationPlanner BC website.

www.sfu.ca/students/deadlines/admission_scholarships.html

*Deadlines may be extended: please refer to Admission for more information.

Option 2: The Back on Track Program

This program is a three-term commitment designed to help students achieve academic success. With a guided analysis of the areas of difficulty, personalized academic advice and support, and career advising, the majority of students can go on to successfully complete their degree. Should you choose to participate, this program will provide you with the following:

  • a dedicated Back on Track Program academic advisor
  • a Learning and Study Skills Inventory (LASSI) Assessment
  • a one-on-one meeting with a Learning Specialist from the Student Learning Commons where you will review your LASSI and then begin to develop your own individual goals
  • a career assessment
  • individualized referrals to specific workshops, supports and other on-campus resources

Please see the Back on Track page for more information about this program and other related programs to assist you in achieving academic success.

How can I get back into SFU if I'm on Extended Withdrawal (EW)

If you are on Extended Withdrawal (EW), and are reapplying to SFU, you will be eligible for readmission after completing ONE of the following five options at another postsecondary institution:

  • 24 - 35 units with a minimum 3.50 GPA
  • 36-47 units with a minimum 3.00 GPA
  • 48-59 units with a minimum 2.75 GPA or with the acceptance GPA* , whichever is higher
  • 60 or more units with the acceptance GPA*
  • a completed 2 year technical diploma with a 70% minimum average and at least 24 units of transferable course work with a minimum 2.75 GPA (the transferable work may be within the diploma program or supplementary to it )

*Acceptance GPA is the minimum GPA that BC College transfer students must achieve in order to enter SFU in a given term. Because of enrollment limits, the acceptance GPA will fluctuate

Withdrawal: for graduate students

Withdrawal: for undergraduates

Things to consider before dropping a class

Alternatives to dropping
Talk to your instructor - you do not need your instructor's approval to drop the course but he or she will be able to give you an idea of how you are doing overall, offer some suggestions for improvement and explain other options available to you (e.g., deferrals, extensions). See www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/.

Tutoring
Consider tutoring and other available resources (e.g., study skill classes, workshops etc.). See the Student Learning Commons .

Deadlines
Know the deadlines for withdrawing. See www.sfu.ca/students/deadlines.

Financial situation
Withdrawing from a class or classes can have an impact on your current or future financial assistance. If you have received financial aid in the form of a student loan or a scholarship/bursary you should meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to let them know you have applied for a withdrawal. Go to www/sfu.ca/students/financialaid/.

Withdrawal under Extenuating Circumstances

If you have passed the deadline for dropping courses on your own, you may be eligible to apply for a Withdrawal Under Extenuating Circumstances (WE). Approval is not guaranteed; however, if your application is approved, a notation of WE will appear on your transcript.

Repeating Courses

Limits on duplication of courses

You may not repeat more than five courses in a degree program. Courses taken at SFU for which you have already received transfer credit from another institution will count within the current limit of five repeats. This limit may be extended by the dean of the faculty.

If you intend to enroll in a sixth or subsequent repeat course, you should seek advice from your major department advisor or Academic Advising before submitting your request for an extension of the limit to your dean.

No individual course may be repeated more than once except with the permission of the department offering the course. Students wishing to enroll in a course for the third time should consult an advisor in the department.

Students can only duplicate Special Topics courses when the course topic is deemed to be the same as the one for which the student has already received credit.

Repeated Transfer Credit

You may not receive transfer credit for a course which is a repeat of a course passed at SFU.

If you enroll at another post-secondary institution in a repeat course already completed and complete the course with a passing grade, the transfer credit will remain on the academic record as a repeat, with a zero unit value. If the course is completed with a failing grade, or is dropped, the transfer credit will remain on the academic record. A department may permit credit to count for both a transfer course and an SFU course, if the course content is judged to be sufficiently different.

Current limits on course repeats, where one course is an SFU course, will apply to repeated transfer courses. The implementation of this policy will not affect the method of calculating grade point averages.

Back on Track Program

The Back on Track office offers academic success programs for students at many stages, including students on academic probation or required to withdraw who need support to recapture academic success.

See Back on Track Program .