College work and units

Course work and study time per unit
Units of credit are a measure of the amount of study performed in a course; grades are a measure of the quality of that study. Generally speaking, for each three-unit lecture course, students spend three hours each week in class and six hours of study time out of class. A four-unit course that includes a lab would add another three hours each week in the laboratory.

Full-time status
A student must carry a minimum of 12 units in fall or spring term or six units in a six-week summer session to be considered a full-time student. Fifteen units is the usual load for students who wish to complete the associate degree in two years.

Term unit limit
Students who wish to enroll in more than 18 units in the fall or spring term or nine units in the summer term must have permission from the dean of counseling and student support services prior to the start of the course.

Remedial unit limit
By state law, students are only allowed to enroll in a maximum of 30 units of remedial course work. Remedial courses are non-degree-applicable credit, basic skills courses and are numbered less than 100.The 30 unit limit includes all remedial courses taken at the three community colleges within our district.

Students enrolled in ESL courses or officially identified as having a learning disability are exempt from the 30 unit limit.

Variable-unit courses
Some courses give students varying amounts of credit; for example, from one to three units. The number of units varies, depending on the following factors: the contract between teacher and student; how many segments of the course the student completes (for example, the course may be divided into three four-week segments); the subject matter and/or number of meetings; and the number of classes the student attends.

Repeating courses
If students have received a satisfactory grade in a course, then:

  • Students may repeat a course up to three times for additional credit and a grade only if it is labeled repeatable in the catalog. (See individual course listing for number of repeats.)

  • In any other case, students must appeal to the dean of counseling and student support services to repeat a course in which they have already received a satisfactory grade. If permission is granted, the new grade will appear on their transcript but will not be calculated in their grade point average, and no additional credit will be given.
    Courses that may not be repeated under any circumstances are dental courses and any course that is unusually dangerous to the student or others.

Repeating courses with substandard grade
If students have received a substandard grade in a course, then see the “Improving a grade point average” section.

Independent study courses
These courses are only available to students who have exhausted the learning opportunities of our regular course offerings. They require the student to undertake a significant project or research with clearly established, measurable learning objectives.

To apply for an independent study course, students should get tentative agreement on their research project from a supervising instructor. They must then complete an independent study form (available in the instruction office or division offices) and receive approval of the supervising instructor, department and division dean, and the vice president of instruction.

Independent study forms must be submitted for approval to the vice president of instruction before the sixth week of the term.

Adding and dropping courses
Courses may be added and dropped by online, telephone or in person at the Admissions Office. For information on adding and dropping courses, see the “registering for courses ” section of this catalog.

Auditing of courses
Diablo Valley College does not permit auditing of courses. All students must submit an application for admission to the college and officially register.

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