Academic Course Requirements and Credit

Full-time status

A student must carry a minimum of 12 units in the fall or spring term or four units in a summer session to be considered a full­time student. Fifteen units is the usual load for students who wish to complete the associate degree in two years.

Term unit limit

In fall or spring term, a full­time course load is considered to be at least 12 units. Students who wish to enroll in more than 19 units in the fall or spring term or 12 units in the summer term must have permission prior to the start of the class. Request to exceed unit limits may be made online.

Permission to Exceed Units

Veterans must carry a course load of at least 12 certifiable units in order to receive full veteran’s benefits.

International students must carry at least 12 certifiable units each term to maintain their F-1 status. Authorization to be below 12 units must be granted by a designated school official in the International Students Admissions and Services Office.

Remedial unit limit

By state law, students are only allowed to enroll in a maximum of 30 units of remedial coursework. 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 instructor 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

As a general rule, students may not enroll more than once in a credit course if the student received a satisfactory grade on the previous enrollment. An enrollment occurs when a student receives an evaluative or non­-evaluative symbol in a credit course. Evaluative symbols include A, B, C, D, F, P, and NP. Non­-evaluative symbols include I, IP, RD, and W. A satisfactory grade is an A, B, C, or P. Substandard work is course work for which the grading symbols D, F, NP, or NC have been recorded. A student receiving an A, B, C, or P typically cannot enroll in that course again, unless an exception to the general rule applies that allows the student an additional enrollment or enrollments in that course.

The following exceptions to the general rule permit a student receiving a satisfactory grade to enroll in the same credit course again:

  • courses properly designated by a district as repeatable
  • a subsequent enrollment due to significant lapse of time (three years)
    • legally mandated courses
    • courses necessary as a result of significant change in industry or licensure standards
    • courses needed due to recency requirements for a program
  • variable-unit courses offered on an open-entry/open-exit basis
  • extenuating circumstances
  • occupational work experience courses
  • students with disabilities repeating a special class

For an additional enrollment in the same course to be allowed, either the student must meet the circumstances specified for the exception or, in the case of repeatable courses, the course is properly designated as repeatable. Students must petition to be granted an exception that allows a subsequent enrollment. If permission to repeat is granted, both grades will appear on the transcript and will be used in the grade point average calculation. Only the first course completed will be applied towards a degree or certificate requirement. Units for both courses will apply towards the 60 units required for the degree.

Repeating courses with substandard grade

Students will be limited to enrolling in non­ repeatable, credit courses a maximum of three times. This includes students earning substandard grades (“D”, “F”, or “NP”) or dropping with a “W”. Students who have received a substandard grade in a course should see the “improving a grade point average” on page 32 for more information. Students must petition for a third enrollment. 

Repeatable courses:

There are three types that may be designated as repeatable by all students:

  1. courses for which repetition is necessary to meet the major requirement of California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) for completion of a bachelor’s degree,
  2. intercollegiate athletics, and
  3. intercollegiate academic or vocational competition.

See course descriptions to determine which courses may be repeated.

Limitations on enrollment

Enrollment limits have been placed on certain types of courses offered within the Contra Costa Community College District. Students are limited to a total of four enrollments in courses that are considered “active participatory courses that are related in content.” At DVC, these limitations apply to certain courses with the subject codes:

  • ART

Within these subjects, courses that are “active participatory courses that are related in content” have been assigned to “families” and students are limited to four aggregate enrollments within the “family”. The “families” are district­wide and the limitation to four enrollments applies to courses taken at any college within the district. Refer to the discipline descriptions in this catalog for further information on “families” and enrollment limitations.

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 a 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 and division dean.


Independent study forms must be submitted for approval to the division dean before the sixth week of the term.

Auditing of classes

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