Dropping Courses

Both graduate and undergraduate students may drop courses from their schedules for a limited time each semester. The online registration calendar for each semester indicates the deadlines for students to drop courses.

Courses officially dropped on or before the Census Date do not appear on a student’s transcript. See the online registration calendar each semester for the Census Dates.

Students who drop courses between the Census Date and the Automatic “W” Date have a record of the courses on their transcripts with an automatic grade of “W.”

The Automatic “W” Date for students is the end of the ninth week of classes for Fall and Spring semesters, the end of the third week of classes for a five-week Summer term, and the end of the sixth week of classes for a ten-week Summer term. Appropriate adjustments are made for the Automatic “W” Date for shorter Summer terms (see the online registration calendar).

It is the student’s responsibility to drop a course by the appropriate deadline. If a student fails to drop a course, even if the student does not attend the course, he or she will receive a grade of “F” in the class.

Faculty and staff will not drop a student from a course automatically for nonattendance (unless the faculty member is utilizing instructor-initiated drops; see below); the student must initiate the process and complete any necessary steps to ensure that the class is dropped.

Students may be administratively dropped from courses for failure to attend certain laboratory courses in the first class week, for failure to attend or participate in developmental courses, for failure to complete course prerequisites prior to the start of the semester, or when courses are canceled. Students cannot assume, however, that they will be automatically dropped from any class for failure to attend or failure to pay tuition and fees. Students are responsible for checking their schedules on myUTSA and for checking their myUTSA e-mail accounts to determine if they have been dropped from a class.

After the Automatic “W” Date, a student may not drop a course except with the approval of the Dean of the college in which the course is offered and then only for urgent and substantiated, nonacademic reasons. Students who want to drop all classes after the semester begins should refer to the section “Withdrawal from the University” in this chapter.

Refer to the sections “Undergraduate Credit Limitation” and “Three-Attempt Rule” in this chapter for information about the financial consequences of receiving “W” grades.

Six-Drop Policy for Undergraduate Students

Effective Fall 2007, in accordance with section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, a student cannot drop more than six courses throughout his or her undergraduate college career at Texas public institutions of higher education. Under Section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, “an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education.”

The statute applies to students who enroll in a public institution of higher education as first-time undergraduates in Fall 2007 or later. Any course that a student drops is counted toward the six-course limit if:

  1. the student was able to drop the course without receiving a grade or incurring an academic penalty
    (for courses taken at UTSA, this means the student was able to drop the course without receiving a grade of “A+,” “A,” “A-,” “B+,” “B,” “B-,” “C+,” “C,” “C-,” “D+,” “D,” “D-,” “F,” “CR,” “NC,” or “IN,” but did receive a grade of “W” for the course which results in no academic penalty);
  2. the student’s transcript indicates or will indicate that the student was enrolled in the course; and
  3. the student is not dropping the course in order to withdraw from the institution.

This would not include courses dropped before the semester begins or before the Census Date.

There are exemptions that may allow a student to drop a course without having it count against the six-drop limit, but it is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate good cause. A Student Petition for a Course Drop Exemption to the Six-Drop Policy form may be obtained from the student’s assigned academic advisor. Students who petition for an exemption are encouraged to do so as soon as possible after dropping the course for which the exemption is requested.

This statute applies across Texas public institutions, and procedures for implementation may vary among institutions. A UTSA student affected by this statute that has attended or plans to attend another institution of higher education should also become familiar with that institution’s policies on dropping courses.

Effective June 15, 2017, in accordance with amendment S.B 1782 to Section 51.907, Education Code, a student is permitted to drop one additional course if the student meets the following circumstances:

  1. Student has re-enrolled at the institution following a break in enrollment from the institution or another institution of higher education covering the 24-month period preceding the first class of the initial semester or other academic term of the student's re-enrollment.
  2. Student has successfully completed at least 50 semester credit hours of coursework at an institution of higher education before the break in enrollment.

Instructor-Initiated Drop Policy

The Instructor-Initiated Drop allows an instructor to drop a student from the instructor’s course if the student exceeds the missed assignment or attendance requirements without an approved accommodation from Student Disability Services or approved excuse as outlined in the course syllabus. The instructor may use Instructor-Initiated Drop only through the last day that a student may drop themselves during long semesters. Instructor-Initiated Drop is not used during Summer terms.

The Instructor-Initiated Drop process is part of the revised HOP 5.09 Attendance and Participation Policy. It is a voluntary activity—faculty may choose to drop a student who exceeds limits in any of their courses or choose not to implement instructor drops. However, if they choose to implement instructor drops, the instructor must:

  • Inform students in the course syllabus that they will be dropped for exceeding the unexcused absence or missed assignment limit.
  • Specify in the syllabus the exact number of unexcused absences and/or missed assignments that will result in a drop.
  • NOT count officially excused absences as defined in HOP 5.09.
  • Take disability accommodations directly related to attendance and/or turning in assignments into account as noted in an official letter from Student Disability Services and attempt to engage in an interactive process with the student before they initiate a drop.
  • Take and record regular attendance.
  • Specify in the syllabus the method of taking and recording attendance, and inform the student it is their responsibility to document their attendance using the specified method.
  • Send at least one warning to the student using the official notification process in myUTSA if the student is approaching the absence or missed assignment limit.
  • Implement drops consistently for any student who exceeds the limit. In other words, all students in the class must be treated equally, since discrimination or differential treatment is a condition for upholding a student grade grievance.

Instructor-Initiated Drops or course drops by students on their own may impact progression toward degree completion and result in financial consequences and obligations. Students are advised to consult with appropriate university personnel to determine what areas of their enrollment may be impacted. These areas include but are not limited to: funding received through financial aid, scholarships, veteran affairs or other funding sources, immigration status, employment with the university, restrictions on repeating courses including gateway courses and legislation such as the Six-Drop Policy, Three Attempts Rule and Undergraduate Credit Limitation.

Instructor-Initiated Drops are enforced at the discretion of the instructor. In the event that a student no longer desires to be enrolled in the course, action must be taken by the student to drop the course via myUTSA by the deadline.

Students wishing to appeal an instructor-initiated drop must submit a completed Instructor Drop Course Reinstatement Petition within 3 business days after they have been notified officially that they have been dropped. In turn, the administration must respond to students within 3 business days from the date of the appeal request.