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California State University, Fullerton
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Academic Year 2020-21 Credit/No-Credit Grading Basis for CSUF Students

The COVID pandemic continues to place unusual and unresolved pressures on students trying to successfully complete the fall 2020 term – in spite of it all. One measure that has been approved is extension of the deadline for selecting the CR/NC grading basis option for all courses that carried that feature at the start of the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms. 

Please note that this extension is different from the CR/NC process conducted during the spring 2020 term in the following ways:

  • This extension applies only to fall 2020 and spring 2021 courses for which CR/NC grading was an option to choose. Not all courses carry the CR/NC option.
  • This is only an extension of the timeframe that students would have chosen the CR/NC option for eligible fall 2020 and spring 2021 courses.
  • Students must make their selection by the last day of class during the fall 2020 semester (Friday, December 11, 2020) and spring 2021 semester (Friday, May 14, 2021) and will not be able to preview their course grade before choosing the CR/NC option.
  • No other changes apply. There will be no exceptions to the 36-unit CR/NC limit for courses completed at CSUF, and CR grades will not meet the Upper Division Writing Requirement where a letter grade of C or better is required to pass.

PLEASE THOROUGHLY READ THROUGH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING FAQs. CR/NC grades can have numerous effects, based on your student status (such as Veterans, Financial Aid, academic probation, re-entry students, student-athletes, pre-licensure or credential student, etc). Each student is strongly encouraged to seek guidance by checking in with their advisors and other supporting campus offices before deciding on the CR/NC grading option for eligible courses.

To our Titans – stay strong and keep pushing toward your success. We are with you every step of the way.

Academic Year 2020-21 FAQs

We have tried to identify some of the main questions that you may have. In general, if you have a concern that is not covered in the FAQs, please check with your advisor and other offices that can give you specific information!

General Grading Basis Questions

What is grading basis?

CSU courses are mostly offered for a letter grade (A-F) and some are offered with a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option. The equivalent letter grades for CR/NC are:

  • Undergraduate courses: CR=A through C, NC=C- to F grades
  • (For the Golden Four undergraduate GE courses, a letter grade and not CR/NC is required and C – is still acceptable as a minimum passing grade.)
  • Graduate courses: CR = CR=A through B, NC=B- through F grades

Can I choose either the letter grade or CR/NC grade option for my classes after I see my final grade?

No, unlike the spring 2020 CR/NC process, you must now select the CR/NC option for CR/NC eligible courses before final grades are assigned. Grading options are provided during enrollment for courses that allow students to choose a letter grade or CR/NC grading for the course. This choice is being extended through the last day of classes (Friday, December 11, 2020 for fall 2020 and Friday, May 14, 2021 for spring 2021 semesters). Please refer to the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide for instructions on editing your enrolled course(s) from Graded to CR/NC.

If my course is eligible for the CR/NC, what is the deadline for me to decide?

Students must make their selection by the last day of class during the fall 2020 semester (Friday, December 11, 2020) and spring 2021 semester (Friday, May 14, 2021).

How do I know if my course(s) are CR/NC eligible?

Not all courses carry the CR/NC option. When you registered for fall 2020 courses, a grading option for CR/NC or Graded was provided for eligible courses.

Starting on Friday, November 13th, students will be able to go back and review their enrolled courses in their Student Center and edit the grading option for CR/NC eligible courses up to the last day of fall 2020 classes (Friday, December 11, 2020). For spring 2021, students will be able to follow the same process for CR/NC eligible courses through the last day of classes for spring 2021 (May 14, 2021). For instructions on changing or checking if your course is eligible for CR/NC grading, please refer to the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide.

If I have CR/NC eligible courses, how do I opt for the CR/NC grade option?

For process details, please thoroughly review the CR/NC Grading Option Student User Guide. Please know that we emphasize utilizing these resources, and contacting specific offices based on your status or questions before you make your course decisions. Remember CHECK BEFORE YOU CHOOSE!

What if I completed a CR/NC eligible course during a mini-session and have already gotten my letter grade?

You will not be able to opt for a CR/NC. You do have the option of having such courses reviewed through the petitions process. You can contact the Office of Registration and Records at for more information

How will CR/NC grades affect my GPA?

CR and NC grades are not calculated in your GPA.

I heard there were some student groups who can’t or shouldn’t select CR/NC grades. Am I in one of those groups?

There are some student groups that have CR/NC restrictions, such as student-athletes, veterans, and some international students. Please CHECK with your academic advisor, Athletics Academic Services Office, Veteran Resource Center or the International Programs Office for more details. You may fall into several categories, so it’s a good idea to CHECK with those various offices.

What about courses that are prerequisites
for other courses?

If a course you are taking has a letter grade requirement as a prerequisite for a subsequent course (for example, needing to earn a C or better to take the next course in a sequence), the CR grade may not meet that prerequisite. CHECK with your academic advisor.

What grades are required for the General
Education (GE) “Golden Four” courses?

For the GE “Golden Four” courses, you must earn a C- grade or higher in the following categories:
A1 – Oral Communication
A2 – Written Communication
A3 – Critical Thinking
B4 – Mathematics/Quantitative Analysis

Does the CR/NC option apply to GE courses?

Unlike spring 2020, courses taken to fulfill GE requirements (lower and upper division) have reverted back to the normal requirement for a letter grade. If you are applying GE courses to fulfill other requirements, such as general electives that count toward the graduation requirement of 120 units, please check with your academic advisor before making the decision to choose CR/NC over a letter grade.

Can I opt for CR/NC grades for my major

Unlike spring 2020, major courses have reverted back to the requirement for a letter grade. There is a small number of major courses that are only available as CR/NC, and thus would be a normal exception to this general rule. To be sure, contact your major advisor or college Student Success Team.

I’m thinking about graduate school/medical school/pharmacy school, etc. Does the grading basis matter for that?

In many cases, yes. Be sure you know what the graduate programs you are interested in require in terms of letter grades in undergraduate coursework.

I’m on the Dean’s List (or trying to use grades this semester to get on the Dean’s List). How do CR/NC grades affect this?

CR/NC grades will not be factored into eligibility for Dean’s List status.

I’m am graduating with honors. How do CR/NC grades affect this?

CR/NC grades will not be factored into eligibility for graduation with the conferral of honors.

What about if I have financial aid?

CR/NC grades can have an impact on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP is measured by cumulative GPA and Program Pace. CR/NC grades have no impact on GPA. Any NC grades will have the same impact on SAP calculations for SAP purposes as F, W, WU or I grades. Any CR grades will count as units earned in these calculations, but will not help any GPA concerns. CHECK with the Financial Aid office for more information.

I’m on academic probation. Can I change grading status in a CR/NC eligible course?

CR/NC are not included in the GPA calculation, and cannot help improve your GPA to the minimum 2.0 GPA.

How many total CR grades can I get toward my degree plan?

You can earn up to 36 CR units, including those transferred from other institutions.

Can a CR grade satisfy the Standards in Upper Division Writing Requirement (UDWR) or Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)?

No, unlike the spring 2020 term, a grade of C or better is required and cannot satisfy the Standards in the UDWR. For graduate students, departments can choose alternate means to assess meeting the GWAR. Graduate students should check with their departments.

Unit-Specific Contacts

Academic Advising/Student Success Teams (SSTs)

For GE lower division courses (including the GE “Golden Four”), CHECK with the Academic Advisement Center.

For upper division and major courses, CHECK with your major advisor and/or your Student Success Team.


CHECK with your AAS counselor.

Educational Opportunity Program

Financial Aid

CHECK with your Financial Aid counselor for more information.

International Programs

Please CHECK with your ISS advisors.

Open University/EIP

Please CHECK with the following Open University advisors: Margaret Y. Luzzi ( or Suzanne Batista (

Veterans Resource Center

Please CHECK with counselors in the Veterans Resource Center.