Academic Difficulty

Avoiding Academic Difficulty

Let’s begin with the obvious:  the best way to avoid academic difficulty is to address your academic concerns before they become problems.  Be proactive!  Meet with a College of Letters and Science advisor in 1117 Cheadle Hall and/or with the undergraduate advisor in your major department as you choose courses for each quarter, making sure you are enrolling in a manageable and appropriate course load.  If you encounter issues or difficulties during the quarter, meet with an advisor to consider your options.

Go to office hours with questions for your instructors and TAs.  Take advantage of the resources offered by the Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS), the Transfer Student Center, the Opening New Doors to Accelerating Success Student Center (ONDAS), etc.  If you have a disability that might prevent you from being successful, it is your right and responsibility to work with the Disabled Students Program to arrange the accommodations that will help you be successful. 

Also, be aware of important academic policies.  The Letters and Science Advising website has information on Policies and Regulations and Degree Requirements.  Review the copy of LASAR (Letters and Science Academic Requirements) that you received at Orientation.  It also available as a PDF or a mobile Guide on your phone, tablet, or computer.  For a detailed presentation of all the academic policies and requirements, go the UCSB Catalog.  The website of the Office of the Registrar is where you'll find university deadlines, fee information, enrollment and withdrawal forms, and information about GOLD.

While at UCSB, you will grow tremendously not just as a student but as a person, encountering new and sometimes highly challenging experiences.  If you begin to question your ability to manage these changes while maintaining academic success, consider meeting with a counselor or therapist at Counseling and Psychological Services.  Also, while it is good for you  to be thinking about what happens after graduation, there is a difference between planning and worrying--work with the Career Services staff to consider how your undergraduate studies can lead to new opportunities and careers after your time here at UCSB is completed.

There are plenty of resources on campus to help you be a successful student, and the best students know to ask for help.

Academic Probation

According to the regulations passed by the UCSB Academic Faculty Senate, an undergraduate who begins a term in good academic standing “will be placed on academic probation” if at the end of the quarter “his or her cumulative grade-point average is less than 2.0 computed on all courses undertaken at the University.”  Also, a student who is “Subject to Academic Disqualification” (see below) may be reinstated on probation at the discretion of the Dean of Undergraduate Education. Students placed on probation will be notified by an email sent to their umail accounts.  If students have questions about their academic status, they should contact Letters and Science Advising in 1117 Cheadle Hall, (805) 893-2038..

Students on probation are allowed to enroll during the following quarter under special conditions:

  1. They must enroll in at least 12 units (or receive permission to have a deficit load) but in no more than 17 units. 
  2. They may not enroll in a course for Passed/Not Passed grading unless that is the only option allowed for the course. 
  3. In most cases, students on probation will be required to meet with a Letters and Science advisor in Cheadle Hall to discuss their course schedule for the quarter as well as their academic circumstances.

Students return to “Regular Status” and, thus, are off probation if they earn at least a 2.0 GPA for the next quartter and their cumulative GPA is at least 2.0. A student on probation for one quarter (this is referred to as "P-1") who earns a 2.0 following the quarter but whose cumulative GPA remains under 2.0, stays on probation during the following quarter  (this is "P-2).  A student on P-2 must both earn at least a 2.0 the next quarter and must bring his/her cumulative GPA to at least 2.0 or will be Subject to Disqualification.

Repeating a course could be an effective way for a student to improve his/her academic record.  If a student repeats a course for which she/he received a grade of C- or lower, the grade for the most recent attempt the student replaces the previous grade in the UC grade calculation for up to 16 units from repeated courses.  Students must petition to repeat a course for a second time, and these petitions are almost never granted.  In addition to being an efficient way to improve one's GPA, it can be beneficial to repeat a course if it covers information fundamental to a major or if a student needs a better grade as a pre-requisite for another course.  Sometimes, however, it’s best to let it go, to not repeat a course that you didn’t enjoy and don’t need.  It often makes sense to discuss with a Letters and Science advisor the consequences of repeating a course.

Academic Enrollment Agreement

The Dean of Undergraduate Education has the discretion to place some students who are on Academic Probation on an Academic Enrollment Agreement (a.k.a., a “contract”) that adds stipulations in addition to those outlined above to the terms of their Probation.  Students on a contract are required to meet with a Letters and Science advisor to discuss the contract and have their course schedule for the quarter approved.  Generally, these added stipulations regard progress the student is making in his or her major. The student must meet all the stipulations in the agreement to return to Regular Status.

Subject to Academic Disqualification

According the UCSB Academic Faculty Senate regulations, a student is “Subject to Academic Disqualification” if

a. at the end of any term his or her grade-point average for that term is less than 1.5, or

b.  while on academic probation his or her grade point for any term falls below 2.0, or

c.  after consecutive terms on academic probation he/she has not achieved a grade-point average of 2.0 computed on the total of all courses taken in the University [of California].

Please note that the term is “Subject” to Disqualification and not “Disqualified.” The Faculty Senate has given the Dean of Undergraduate Education the discretion to allow students who are Subject to Disqualification to be reinstated on Academic Probation.  When students are Subject to Disqualification, they will receive an email to their umail account that will explain whether they will be automatically reinstated on Academic Probation or whether they will need to appeal to be reinstated.

Academic Disqualification

Students who are Subject to Disqualification and who are not automatically reinstated by the Dean of Undergraduate Education or who do not successfully appeal to be reinstated will be “Academically Disqualified.” Students who are Academically Disqualified are not allowed to enroll and receive credit for UCSB courses (including UC Extension courses) during fall, winter, or spring quarters.  A disqualified student may, however, enroll and receive credit for courses taken during a UC Summer Session. 

Academic disqualification is not meant to be punitive.  Rather it is a means for the College of Letters and Science to prevent a student from doing further damage to his or her academic record.  Being academically disqualified is not the same as being “dismissed” from the university. In most cases, a student who is disqualified can become eligible to return to regular status and complete his or her degree. In order to be reinstated and to be eligible to enroll in courses during a regular quarter, a student will need to appeal for reinstatement.  In this appeal, a student will need to persuade the Dean of Undergraduate Education that he/she is ready to successfully pursue a degree. 

We urge students who have been academically disqualified to speak with an academic advisor about the steps they can take to return to UC Santa Barbara.  Students can come to 1117 Cheadle Hall or call 805 893-2038 to meet with or speak to a walk-in advisor (Mon. Thurs. & Fri, 9:00-11:30, 1:00-3:30; Tues. & Wed. 9:30-11:30, 1:00-3:30) or schedule an advising appoint online or by calling the number above.

Appealing for Reinstatement

Most students who are Subject to Disqualification and all students who are Academically Disqualified must appeal for reinstatement by thoughtfully responding to the Appeal for Reinstatement Questionnaire.  The questions on the form ask students to reflect upon the difficulties that led to their academic difficulties, to demonstrate that they resolved those difficulties, and to review their academic goals.  It is often helpful for students to provide documentation with the appeal that verifies both the challenges students faced and the steps students have taken to overcome those challenges.

Students who are Subject to Disqualification at the end of a term and who hope to continue at UCSB the next term will be notified about the deadline for appealing for reinstatement.  Students who do not appeal by the deadline or whose appeals are denied will be dropped from their courses for the next term at the end of the third week of the term.  Students who are Subject to Disqualification after a spring quarter may be required to enroll and succeed in courses in UC Summer Session to be eligible to be reinstated for fall quarter.  Students may come to 1117 Cheadle, call 805 893-2038, or email Letters and Science Academic Advising at academic_advising@LTSC.ucsb.edu with questions about the appeal process.

If a student has been Academically Disqualified, the College will expect to see evidence that student ready to succeed academically.  The best means to demonstrate that an academically disqualified student is ready to return as a regular student is for that student to succeed in courses in a summer session at UCSB or another UC, both because this a clear demonstration that a student is capable doing UC-level work and because grades in UC Summer Session courses count toward a student’s GPA.  In some situations, enrolling in another institution, including a community college, may also be an appropriate means for a student to demonstrate that she/he is ready to be successful to return to UCSB.

If an appeal for reinstatement is denied, a student may request to meet with an associate dean to appeal the denial.  Please note that the associate dean will expect the student to do more than merely restate the points made in the original appeal.  Rather the dean, will be expecting new information that indicates the students is ready to be academically successful.  A student whose appeal for reinstatement has been denied should come to 1117 Cheadle Hall or call (805) 893-2038 to schedule an appointment with an associate dean.