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Advising Handbook

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.
  • A student may wish or need to strengthen their knowledge of a particular topic in order 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.

The policy below 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).

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). However, students who earn an unsatisfactory grade (i.e., C-, D+, D, D-, or E) in a course can repeat that course for a grade as long as they have the dean’s approval through CCAS.

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.

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 remains.

Students who want to repeat a course for a grade should complete the online Repeat Course Form.

Financial Aid

Students receiving any kind of institutional or federal aid must be enrolled full-time, carrying at least 12 new credit hours since repeat courses are not counted for credit. 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.

Special Course Requirements

Repeating Satisfactory/Fail (S/F) Courses

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.

Incomplete Courses

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.

Courses at a Different Level

When departments offer courses that are similar in content but at different levels (e.g., MTH 141 and 161, MTH 143 and 162), students cannot use the lower-level course as a “repeat” of the upper-level course. However, CHM 203/204 can be used as a repeat of CHM 171/172.

Students can choose to use PHY 121 as a “repeat” of PHY 141, in which case only the PHY 121 grade will be factored into the GPA, and any credit for PHY 141 will be forfeited. Students can choose to use PHY 122 as a “repeat” of PHY 142, in which case only the PHY 122 grade will be factored into the GPA, and any credit for PHY 142 will be forfeited. Students can choose to use PHY 123 as a “repeat” of PHY 143, in which case only the PHY 123 grade will be factored into the GPA, and any credit for PHY 143 will be forfeited. Students cannot not receive credit for both PHY 113 and PHY 121. Students cannot not receive credit for both PHY 114 and PHY 122. PHY 121 can be taken as a repeat course for PHY 121P and PHY 122 can be taken as a repeat course for PHY 122P, and vice versa.

Students can choose to use MTH 142 as a repeat of MTH 161, assuming that the grade in 161 is below "C." 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 do not pass 161 have two options: (1) They can take MTH 161 as a repeat; or (2) They can take MTH 141 and then proceed to MTH 142. Upon completion of MTH 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.

The general rules about repeating courses apply here as well. MTH 142 can be used as a repeat of MTH 161 only if the grade earned in MTH 161 is below C.

Students cannot earn credit for both:

  • MTH 161 and MTH 171
  • MTH 162 and MTH 172

Writing Courses

Students who pass WRT 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, as long as they submit the Repeat Course Form by the end of the fourth week of the semester. Students can apply the standard repeat policy described in the first paragraph.

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

  • WRT 105
  • WRT 105E
  • WRT 105A&B

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

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


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

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

First-Year Only Courses

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

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

Courses that Can Be Repeated for Credit

Keep in mind that some courses may be taken more than once with credit and a grade earned each time. 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 RUS 126 no more than twice.

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

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

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

Additional special circumstances

The following courses have special repeat rules:

  • Students can receive credit toward the degree for only one of the following courses – STT 211, STT 212, STT 213, BIO/STT 214, CSP/PSY 211, BCS 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.
  • Students cannot earn credit for both BIO 190 and BIO 198.
  • Prior to Spring 2017, students were not permitted to earn credit for both FIN 204 and FIN 205.
  • 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.
  • Students cannot earn credit for both PHY 121 and PHY 113.
  • Students cannot earn credit for both PHY 122 and PHY 114.
  • Students cannot earn credit for both CHM 171 and CHM 203.
  • PSC 200 can be used as a repeat for PSC 201 (PSC 201 is no longer offered).
  • 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.
  • Students may repeat BIO 110L with BIO 110. Note that BIO 198 can be used as a repeat of BIO 190.

Students are advised to check course descriptions and departmental policies whenever questions arise concerning course credit for comparable courses.