Repeating Courses

Students who complete a course with a low or failing grade may wish to repeat the course in a subsequent semester. In addition to understanding the policies concerning course repeats (see below), and speaking with an academic advisor, it is also helpful for a student to consider the following:

  • If you wish to increase your GPA, consider whether this is the best way to achieve that goal. Most students will find that when they repeat a course, there is only a small impact on their overall GPA. Another way to increase your GPA is to take additional courses and do well in them. Finally, if a student is repeating a course to increase their GPA for their graduate or professional school applications, it is useful to know that these schools may calculate a student's GPA differently when repeat courses appear on the transcript.
  • A student may wish or need to strengthen their knowledge of a particular topic to prepare for future classes. This can be a good reason for repeating a course. The Science Sequence Regulations require students to achieve a minimum grade of "C-" in order to continue on to the next course in the sequence. In other cases, students may wish to consult with a professor to determine whether auditing a class might be appropriate.
  • Many students believe that a grade of "C" or higher is required for each course in their major, minor, and/or clusters. However, this is not true. Students must complete their major, minor and/or cluster(s) with an overall average grade of "C" or better.
  • A course will not necessarily be easier the second time around. If a student chooses to repeat a course, they should maximize their chances for success by utilizing available resources and practicing good study habits.
  • Students who wish to take a course at another college should be aware of the following policies: (1) Grades awarded by other colleges do not transfer and will not affect the University of Rochester GPA; (2) Transfer course grades cannot replace grades earned at the University of Rochester; (3) Students cannot earn transfer credit for a course that is similar to a course already completed at the University of Rochester with a grade of D- or higher. See the transfer credit page for more information.
  • Students who have an I or N in a course should speak with the instructor before attempting to repeat that course. If the instructor allows, it is better to have an Incomplete Contract and finish the grade for the original course than to allow the I/N grade turn into an E and repeat the course.

Repeat Course Policy

This policy applies to courses taken for the first time in fall 2014 or later. For classes taken before 2014, see an advisor in the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS).

Students who earned an unsatisfactory grade (i.e., C-, D+, D-, or E) the first time in a course can repeat that course for a grade if they have the dean’s approval through CCAS. This approval is granted through the completion of the online Repeat Course Request Form.

You can register for a course before the Repeat Course Request Form is completed and approved. You should register for a repeat course before the semester’s add deadline.

Approval will not be granted if the course was taken for the first time and passed with a satisfactory grade (i.e., “C” or better).

If you do not complete a Repeat Course Request Form by the add/drop deadline, or you do not drop a course where the Repeat Course Request has been denied, the course will be removed from your schedule by administration.

When students repeat a course at the University, the second grade, which is not necessarily the better grade, will be factored into the grade point average. Credit can be earned only once. Credit for courses initially passed will be removed from the record when the “repeat” course is completed, even if the second grade is a failure. An “R” appears next to both listings of the course on the transcript. The earlier grade will still remain on the transcript, but not be factored into the GPA.

Repeat courses are not counted for credit, with exceptions noted below.

When departments offer courses that are similar in content but at different levels (e.g., MATH 141 and 161, MATH 143 and 162), students cannot use the lower-level course as a repeat” of the upper-level course, with exceptions noted below.

Students who declared the S/F option for a course will receive permission to repeat the course only if the grade under the "S" is below C. Students who choose to repeat a course they have failed, and who select the S/F option, must pass the course the second time in order for the first failing grade to be removed from the GPA.

Students who have submitted signed incomplete contracts requiring them to do the work again should make arrangements to audit the course, and not register again for credit as a “repeated” course.

Financial Aid Implications

Students receiving any kind of institutional or federal aid must be enrolled full-time, carrying at least 12 new credit hours.

Repeating courses for which you have already a passing grade, and therefore received credit (C-, D+, D, D-, S) ARE NOT counted towards the 12 new credit hours.

Repeating courses for which you have earned a failing grade, and therefore not received credit (E or F) ARE count towards the 12 new credit hours.

International students have different financial aid requirements and should talk to a financial aid advisor and International Services Office (ISO) advisor before repeating any courses.

Repeat Course Policy Exceptions

Note that the individual academic departments are responsible for managing the following exceptions and special circumstances for repeat courses. When questions arise, it is always best to consult first with an advisor in the specific academic department for guidance.

Courses at a different level

CHEM 203/204 can be used as a repeat of CHEM 171/172.

The following lower-level Physics courses can be used as a “repeat” of their respective upper-level course. Please note that in these cases, only the grade for the lower-level physics class will be factored into the GPA. All grade and credit for the upper-level physics class will be forfeited.

  • PHYS 121 can be used as a “repeat” of PHYS 141.
  • PHYS 122 can be used as a “repeat” of PHYS 142.
  • PHYS 123 can be used as a “repeat” of PHYS 143.

PHYS 121 and PHYS 122 can be taken as a repeat course for PHYS 121P and PHYS 122P, respectively. Or vice versa.

If students earn a C-, D+, D, or D- in Math 161, they can choose use MATH 142 as a repeat. In this case only the 142 grade will be in the GPA, and any credit for 161 will be forfeited. However, students who are satisfied with their 161 grade can take 142 without losing credit for 161. Students who choose the second option do not need to complete the Repeat Course Request form.

Students who do not pass MATH 161 have two options:

(1) They can take MATH 161 as a repeat; or

(2) They can take MATH 141 and then proceed to MATH 142. Upon completion of MATH 142, the failing grade for 161 will be removed from the GPA. The Department of Mathematics allows this because no more than one-third of the material in the two courses overlaps.

Writing Courses

Students who pass WRTG 105/105E with a grade below “C” can choose to take the course a second time for four additional credit hours, and with both grades in the GPA, or can choose to follow the standard repeat policy. This decision can be made through the Repeat Course Request Form.

Any of the following three courses can be used to repeat the others:

  • WRTG 105
  • WRTG 105E
  • WRTG 105A&B

WRTG 105 or WRTG 105E can serve as a repeat course for WRTG 105A under two circumstances:

  • When a student has received below a C in 105A

OR

  • When a student has received above a C in 105A, but has special circumstances that warrant completing the primary writing requirement with WRTG 105 or WRTG 105E (e.g., s/he must complete the requirement in the summer when only 105 is offered)

Students who complete WRTG 105A with a C or better and then complete WRTG 105B with a grade lower than C should just repeat WRTG 105B.

First-Year Only Courses

Some courses, because of the way they are offered, cannot be repeated. PHYS 143 is one example of a course that is for first-year students only. A student who fails PHYS 143 should take PHYS 123 in the second year.

BIOL 112, another course that is for first-year students only, cannot be repeated. A student who earns a grade below "C" in BIOL 112 and wants to continue in biology may repeat the course by taking BIOL 110.

Courses that CAN Be Repeated for Credit

Some courses can be taken more than once with a credit and a grade earned each time. This is because the class number stays the same, but the topic and the content within the course changes. The most common such course is Applied Music: Lessons at Eastman with 130 or 160 as the course number.

Students can also take two-credit foreign language conversation courses such as FR 114 more than once. Students may take RUSS 126 no more than twice.

Students can earn credit for both ECON 207 and ECON 207H, and for ECON 209 and ECON 209H.

A student can receive credit for both CHEM 208 and CHEM 210 if they choose to take both. A student can also elect to replace a grade in CHEM 208 with a grade earned in CHEM 210. Students cannot, however, use a grade in CHEM 208 to replace a grade in CHEM 210.

Beginning in spring 2019, students may not earn credit for FIN 204 after having completed FIN 205.

Students can enroll in HIS 100 and earn credit more than one time; however, a student who wishes to repeat the course and replace the original grade must repeat the course under the same topic

Additional Special Circumstances

Of the following bullet points, each bullet point contains two courses in which students cannot earn credit for both courses:

  • PHYS 121 and PHYS 113
  • PHYS 122 and PHYS 114
  • CHEM 171 and CHEM 203
  • MATH 161 and MATH 171
  • MATH 162 and MATH 172
  • BIOL 190 and BIOL 198
  • MUSC 101 and MUSC 110
  • FIN 204 and FIN 205 (beginning in spring 2019)

Students can receive credit toward the degree for only one of the following courses—STAT 211, STAT 212, STAT 213, BIOL/STAT 214, CSSP/PSY 211, BCSC 200—students wanting to repeat a course must take the exact same course again for the repeat policy to apply. Questions about statistics courses should be directed to an advisor in the Program in Statistics.

In certain disciplines (e.g., modern and ancient languages, mathematics) students cannot register and receive credit for a lower-level course once the higher-level course is successfully completed.

PSC 200 can be used as a repeat for PSC 201 (PSC 201 is no longer offered).

Students may repeat BIOL 110L with BIOL 110. Note that BIOL 198 can be used as a repeat of BIOL 190.