Course Load and Course Withdrawal

Full-time matriculated students—that is, those students who seek to earn a degree from the University—normally register for 12 to 19 credit hours per semester. A request for permission to register for more than 19 credits is referred to as an academic overload.

Students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher may submit an overload request directly to the Office of Records (no petition required).

Students with a cumulative grade point average between 2.50 and 2.99 may submit a petition for an overload to the appropriate Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals. Majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the School of Journalism may submit petitions to the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Room E3310 of the Melville Library. Majors in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences may submit petitions to the Undergraduate Student Office, Room 127 Engineering Building.

Students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.50 are not eligible to request an overload.

Please note: Academic overloads may not exceed 23 credits per semester. Students with an incomplete grade, Q grade, or in their first semester at Stony Brook are not eligible to request an academic overload, regardless of GPA.

After the tenth class day in the semester through the ninth week, a full-time student may withdraw from a course providing that full-time status (a minimum of 12 registered credits) is maintained. A mark of “W’’ will appear on the transcript indicating withdrawal. Part-time students may withdraw from a course and will receive a mark of “W.”

After the tenth class day, full-time students who wish to drop one or more classes and thereby carry fewer than 12 credits (an “underload”) must petition the appropriate Committee on Academic Standing and Appeals. Approval for an underload, granted for the current semester, is allowed only in emergency situations. Before requesting an underload, the student should determine the consequences of dropping below 12 credits for scholarships, loans, and intercollegiate athletic eligibility. Students with approved underloads will be charged at the full-time tuition rate. Students who have chronic difficulties that make full-time study inappropriate should only register for 11 or fewer credits (part-time status).

After the ninth week of classes, a student who wishes to withdraw from a course may do so only by withdrawing from the University.

Students officially withdraw from a course by dropping it via the SOLAR System or in person at the Registrar’s Office. Students withdrawing from all their courses (withdrawing from the University) may do so in writing or in person at the Registrar’s Office. Students who withdraw from the University and whose cumulative grade point average is less than 2.00 are required to wait for at least one semester before they are permitted to re-enroll. To learn more about taking a leave of absence, please refer to the “Leave of Absence and Returning to the University” section in this Bulletin.


1. Non-attendance or notification of the instructor alone does not constitute official withdrawal.

2. Citizens of other countries who are in the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 visa must register for at least 12 credits each semester unless formal approval to do otherwise has been obtained from International Services. International students holding other visas should consult International Services.

3. The credit limit during preregistration is 17 credits. This credit limit applies to all students until either the end of summer orientation or one week before the start of classes (which ever is later). At that point, the limit is raised to 19 credits.

4. The combined total of registered and waitlisted credits is 19 credits at any point during the registration period.