Repeating Courses

Courses Designated as Repeatable

Certain courses (e.g., variable-credit and special-topics courses) are designated as repeatable; they may be taken more than once for credit.These courses may be repeated indefinitely unless the department stipulates a maximum number of credits allowed.

Courses Not Designated as Repeatable

If a grade of C or better was earned, the student should consult with their adviser to discuss the usefulness of repeating the course.

If a grade of D was earned, the course may be repeated. However, the student is not required to repeat the course unless a C or better is required for their program (see C-Grade Requirement, Entrance to a Major, Academic Entrance and Retention Requirements, and Degree Requirements). Even if a C or better is not required, the student may choose to repeat the course if it is a prerequisite for a course that they plan to schedule. In this case, the student's preparation should be evaluated by the department offering the course with the prerequisite.

If a grade of F was earned, the course may be repeated. The student is not required to repeat a failed course unless the course is required in their program.

If UN (unsatisfactory) was earned, the course may be repeated but only under the conventional grading system (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading System).

Note: Student financial aid recipients should consult with the Office of Student Aid at University Park or the student aid representative at their Penn State campus to discuss the impact of a course repeat on their aid.

Limit on Repeat Attempts (effective fall 2016)

A student cannot attempt a course more than three times without the permission of the appropriate dean in their unit of enrollment. (It is important to note that it is the academic official of the student's unit of enrollment; not the unit offering the class.) Under no circumstances will approval be given for more than four attempts. Attempts are tracked in LionPATH; students will be denied enrollment after a third attempt in a given course.

Attempts include all courses on a student's transcript (including courses attempted prior to fall 2016) with a letter grade or a symbol indicating satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading (SA/UN) or (LD, WN, WP, or WF).

Attempts also include courses offered by more than one department that are designated as combined section (cross-listed). For example, if a student attempted CAMS 5 and then attempted HIST 5, it would be considered a course repeat because this is a "combined section course."

Attempts will also include sections of a course differentiated by suffix: for example, attempting CAS 100A and CAS 100B would be two attempts.

Exceptions: When a student withdraws from a semester or session, the courses with a W symbol are not considered "attempts." Courses taken prior to academic renewal are not counted as attempts.

Impact on the Student's Record

Each time a student repeats a course, it appears on the student's transcript. When a course not designated as repeatable has been repeated, all of the credits and grades earned are included when calculating the student's grade-point average. However, the course counts only once as a graduation requirement.

On LionPATH degree audits, repeated courses (both repeatable courses that exceed the maximum credits allowed for the course and non-repeatable courses) will be reflected under the heading "Withdrawn, Unsatisfactory, Repeated, & Excluded Academic Renewal Courses" as illustrated below.

Image of repeated courses message on LionPATH

Last Update: October 2016

Reference(s): Senate Policy 47-80