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. See Note #3.

Continuing students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher (with no Incomplete or Q grades) will have their credit limit raised to 23 after the start of the semester, as per the Academic Calendar.

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: 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 and through the ninth week of classes in the fall and spring semesters, a full-time student may withdraw from one or more courses providing that the student maintains full-time status (a minimum of 12 registered credits). A grade of “W’’ will appear on the transcript indicating withdrawal for each course. Part-time students may withdraw from any number of courses and will receive a grade of “W” for each course withdrawal.   

Tuition liability policies apply for all course withdrawals and course cancellations.

For fall and spring semesters only: 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).   

During summer and winter terms, students may withdraw to zero credits at any time before the last day of classes, but a grade of "W" (withdraw) will be noted on the transcript for each course withdrawal after the end of the add/drop period.

After the ninth week of classes for fall and spring semesters, a student who wishes to withdraw from a course may do so only by withdrawing from all courses in that semester or by withdrawing from the University.  Such withdrawal requests must be requested by the last day of classes.

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 (or 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.   

Course cancellation:
Courses can only be completely removed from the student record if the request is received by the registrar's office by the end of the add/drop period of the given semester.   

Notes:

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 fall and spring 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 (16 credits for students in their first semester at the University). Certain programs have exceptions to these limits. This credit limit applies to all students until either the end of summer orientation or one week before the start of classes (whichever 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.