Gavilan College Home Page

Academic Information

Student Classification

Students at Gavilan College are classified by the following definitions:

FRESHMAN - Student who has completed 29-1/2 semester units or less of college credit

SOPHOMORE - Student who has completed 30 or more semester units of college credit.

FULL-TIME - Student enrolled in 12 or more semester units. (4 units for summer session)

PART-TIME - Student enrolled in less than 12 semester units.

Definition of a Semester

An academic year at Gavilan is comprised of two semesters, fall and spring. Classes are also offered during summer and winter intersessions.

Course Availability

Every course, course section or class, the average daily attendance of which is to be reported for State aid, wherever offered and maintained by the district, shall be fully open to enrollment by any person who has been admitted to the college and who meets such prerequisites as may be established pursuant to Chapter II, Division 2, Part VI, Title V of the California Administrative Code, unless specifically exempted by statute.

Gavilan College provides special registration assistance to disabled and disadvantaged students in compliance with Title V of the California Administrative Code, Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Attendance Standards

Students at Gavilan College are expected to attend all classes for which they are enrolled.

Students missing one more class hour than the unit value for a particular course without making prior arrangements may, at the instructor’s option, be dropped without possibility of credit.

Students who do not attend the first class session may be dropped from class in order to admit other students desiring to enroll. If it is necessary for a student to miss more than three consecutive class periods, a Leave of Absence Petition Form should be obtained from the Admissions and Records Office.

The petition must be approved by all the student’s instructors and returned to the Admissions and Records Office. Ordinarily, a petition for leave of absence will not be granted for more than two weeks. Prolonged absence, even when excused, may result in grade penalties, since the student is still responsible for course requirements.

Course Prerequisite

A prerequisite is a measure of readiness for a course or program that a student is required to meet as a condition of enrolling in a course or program. Successful completion (a grade of “C” or better) of the prerequisite is required.

How Course Prerequisites are Established

Course prerequisites are developed by faculty members and accepted by the Gavilan College Curriculum Committee with the intent of promoting student success. Courses are individually reviewed to assure that prerequisites are a valid measure of readiness for student success. Criteria used to establish prerequisites include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Most prerequisites are in degree programs within sequential content areas. A course may be established as a prerequisite for another course provided that skills, concepts and/or information taught in the first course are presupposed in the second course;

2. The course for which the prerequisite is required is one in which the student might endanger his or her own health and safety or the health and safety of others if the prerequisite is not met; or

3. A course may be established as a prerequisite for another course because appropriate faculty and the Curriculum Committee have established it as equivalent to the prerequisite established by at least three campuses of the University of California and/or the California State University.

4. Other prerequisite criteria may be developed and utilized by Gavilan College. These are available through the Office of the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

Challenge of Prerequisite

Students who have reason to believe that they have already fulfilled a prerequisite, or that a prerequisite has been improperly established or implemented, may challenge the prerequisite. The student is responsible to provide compelling evidence to substantiate the challenge claim.

Challenge forms are available at the Admissions and Records Office and must be completed and returned to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services prior to the first day of classes.

The college must respond to a completed challenge submitted by a student within a period of five (5) school days or the challenge is valid. Although the student may register in the class for which the prerequisite is being challenged, if the challenge is denied, the student will be dropped from the class. Academic credit will not be awarded for successfully challenged prerequisites. For further information regarding the prerequisite challenge, contact a counselor.

Course Advisory

An advisory is a measure of readiness for a course or program that is recommended a student meet in order to enroll in a course or program. Successful completion with a “C” or better is strongly recommended.

How Course Advisories are Established

Course advisories are developed by faculty members and accepted by the Gavilan College Curriculum Committee. Courses are individually reviewed to assure that the advisories assist a student to efficiently and successfully complete the course. The departments and the Curriculum Committee have concluded, after review of content, that the advisory or its equivalent is strongly recommended.

Definition of a Unit

Units of credit earned in a college course are the result of a student’s effort both in the classroom/laboratory and additional study outside the classroom.

Units of credit are based upon a Carnegie Unit, which requires an average of three (3) hours of course-related work per unit of credit, each week throughout a semester.

A typical 3 unit lecture class will meet three (3) hours per week for classroom instruction and require an additional six (6) hours per week for outside work (reading, library research, problem-solving, projects, term papers, etc.) for a total of nine (9) hours of course-related work per week.

Units of credit earned in laboratory/activity classes are also based upon the three hours per week per unit ratio.

A typical full-time load is approximately 15 units per semester, requiring an average of 675 hours of course-related work when class lectures, labs and outside homework are combined. This will vary somewhat, based upon assignments, individual goals and academic ability, but each student is encouraged to budget adequate time for required study.

Degree Versus Non-Degree Units

Gavilan College has designated certain courses “non-degree appropriate.” This means that units earned in selected courses will not count toward an associate’s degree. This information is contained in the course descriptions in this catalog.

Regulations Concerning Unit Loads

The following definitions are used by Gavilan College:

Full-term Semester Unit Loads:

1-5 units: Less than half-time student

6-8 units: Half-time student

9-11 units: Three-quarter time student

12+ units: Full-time student (12 units is the minimum number of units to be eligible for full veteran’s benefits, Dean’s List and intercollegiate athletic competition)

15 units: Full-time student (President’s Honor Roll eligibility).

18 units Must have minimum GPA of 2.5 and counselor’s approval.

19 units: Approval of the Dean of Student Services or designee.

Summer and Intersession Unit Loads:

4-5.99 units: Full-time student

6 units: Must have a 2.5 GPA and counselor's approval

more than 6 units: Approval of the Dean of Student Services or designee

As a reminder, a typical 3 unit lecture class will meet three hours per week for classroom instruction and require an additional 6 hours per week for outside work (reading, library research, problem-solving, projects, term papers, etc.) for a total of 9 hours of course-related work per week.

Computing Grade Point Average (GPA)

To determine current or cumulative grade point average, divide the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted.

Grade point values:

A=4 points

A-=3.7 points

B+=3.3 points

B=3 points

B-=2.7 points

C+=2.3 points

C=2 points

D=1 point

F=0 points



ACCT 4 X (A)4 = 16 points

ENGL 3 X (B)3 = 9 points

7 units attempted (25 points)

Placing values into formula above:

25 points ÷ 7 units attempted = 3.57 GPA

Credit/No Credit units are not computed in the grade point average.

Semester to Quarter Conversion Formula

Some colleges and universities operate on a “quarter” calendar of three twelve-week terms; fall, winter and spring.

The following formula shall be used when converting quarter hours to semester hours or semester hours to quarter hours in order to compute graduation requirements, grade points for the required standards of scholarships, non-resident student regulations, and the college calendar.

Semester credit hours (or semester units of credit) are converted to quarter credit hours (or quarter units of credit) by multiplying the number of semester credit hours by one and a half.

Example: 15 Semester credits x 1-1/2 = 22.5 quarter credits.

Quarter credit hours are converted to semester credit hours by multiplying the number of quarter hours by two-thirds.

Example: 22.5 quarter credits x 2/3 = 15 semester credits

Grading Options

Credit/No Credit

Courses offered under the Credit/No Credit grade option are determined by the Gavilan College Board of Trustees and cited in this catalog.

Grading - Students receiving the credit (CR) grade must have achieved the course objectives equivalent to at least a “C” grade in order to receive the units of credit assigned to the course. The grade point average of a student receiving a credit (CR) or no credit (NC) grade will not be influenced.

A credit/no credit course is not included in consideration for honors such as Dean’s List or President’s Honor Roll. See page 34 for additional information.

Letter Grade Option - For some courses, students have the option of selecting a final grade of Credit/No Credit or a traditional letter grade of “A”, “B”, “C”, etc. Review the course description in this Catalog to determine which courses are designated as having this option.

Before selecting a grading option, students should consider the following:

• Once the option has been selected, the student’s decision is final and irreversible.

• To select one option over another, a student must complete the Grading Option form and file it with the Admissions & Records Office prior to the NRS (No Record Shown) date for the course. This date is 30% of the course length. Short-term classes are calculated differently (See Admissions and Records).

• If the student opts for a CR/NC final grade, the units are not included in the semester GPA but are considered for the purposes of probation and dismissal.

• A CR/NC grade is not used in consideration of honors.

• A total of 20 units of CR/NC graded units (not including those courses required by the major which are designated CR/NC only) may be applied to an associates’s degree or certificate.

• The student should carefully consider the transferability of CR/NC units to other institutions. Some universities may not accept any credit/no credit courses and others limit the amount of credit/no credit units that will be accepted. Please consult a counselor before selecting the credit/no credit option.

Academic Record Symbols

Symbol, Definition (Grade Points)

A Excellent (4)

A- Excellent (3.7)

B+ Good (3.3)

B Good (3)

B- Good (2.7)

C+ Satisfactory (2.3)

C Satisfactory (2)

D Passing, less than satisfactory (1)

F Failing (0)

CR Credit (at least satisfactory; units awarded not counted in Grade Point Average) (0)

NC No Credit (less than satisfactory or failing; units not counted in Grade Point Average) (0)

I Incomplete (incomplete academic work for unforeseeable, emergency and justifiable reasons). The requirements necessary to complete the course must be fulfilled the next term of attendance (excluding summer) within the next year. If the “I” grade is not removed in this fashion, it will be converted to an “F” (0)

IN In Progress (In Progress shall be used to denote that the class extends beyond the normal end of the academic term). (0)

RD Report Delayed (Report Delayed may be assigned by the Registrar only if there is a reporting delay due to circumstances beyond the student’s control) (0)

W Withdrawal (Student Withdrawal from class will be designated a “W” only between the Monday of the fourth week and the Friday of the fourteenth week). Withdrawal at other times follows this pattern:

Weeks* (Symbol)

1 through 3 No Record Shown (NRS)

4 through 14 (W)

15 to end of term (F)

MW Military Withdrawal (called to active duty)

*Approximate times indicated. Specific dates are printed in the Schedule of Classes. These times are applicable only to semester-long courses.

Non-Traditional Credit

Students may be granted nontraditional academic credit (e.g., military service, credit by examination, USAFI, CLEP, AP, etc.) upon proper application and, with the exception of Advanced Placement, the successful completion of 12 credit units at Gavilan College with a cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.0.

University of California does not grant credit for College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. CLEP credit WILL NOT be used to certify the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. Some California State Universities will grant credit for certain areas and some will not grant credit at all. Transfer students are advised to contact the university they will be attending for specific information regarding CLEP credit.

Credit by Examination (“Test Out”)

Students who have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in at least 12 units of college work completed at Gavilan College may petition for credit by examination during any term in which they are enrolled.


1. Students who may qualify for credit by examination are:

a. Students who have never taken the class for credit.

b. Students of exceptional ability who have studied on their own.

c. Students with experiential background who can meet the objectives of the course.

2. Students will pay tuition for the challenged class. A minimum of $100 will be paid prior to taking the challenge examination. The exact fee will be based upon the actual costs of providing the exam.

3. Applications for Credit by Examination are available from the Admissions and Records Office and require the signature of the appropriate instructor, department chairperson, and appropriate dean.

4. A copy of the graded challenge examination will be submitted to the appropriate dean’s office. The type of examination is to be determined by the instructor and the department chairperson in concert with the appropriate dean.

5. The final grade will be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office for posting on the student’s transcript.

6. Students desiring to take the Challenge Examination who, due to extenuating circumstances, do not meet the above qualifications may submit a written appeal for waiver to the appropriate dean.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Gavilan College grants up to six semester units of transfer credit for each College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Test on which a student receives a score of 3 or higher. The AP results must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records with a request for evaluation.

Students receiving a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the Math and English AP exams will be exempt from the placement assessment test.

AP units will not apply toward financial aid, nor can they be used to satisfy the residency unit requirement.

Advanced Placement credit will be awarded as follows:

  Test Score* Gavilan Course Equivalent Semester Units
American History 3,4,5 HIST 1,2 6
Art History 3,4,5 ART 1A, 1B 6
Biology 3,4,5 BIO 10 4
Chemistry 3,4 CHEM 30A 4
5 CHEM 1A 5
Computer Science A 3,4,5 CSIS 45 4
Computer Science AB 3,4,5 CSIS 45,46 8
English Language & Composition 3,4,5 ENGL 1A 3
English Composition 3,4 ENGL 1A 3
    & Literature 5 ENGL 1A, 1B 6
    (Max # Units in English= 6)
Economics, Macro 3,4,5 ECON 1 3
Economics, Micro 3,4,5 ECON 2 3
Environmental Science 3,4,5 ECOL 1 4
Government & Politics
    U.S. 3,4,5 POLS 1 3
    Comparative 3,4,5 POLS 3 3
Math/Calc AB 3,4,5 MATH 1A 4
Math/Calc BC 3,4,5 MATH 1B 4
Music Theory 3,4,5 MUS 3A 3
Physics B 3,4,5 PHYS 2A 4
Physics C 3,4,5 PHYS 2B 4
Psychology 3,4,5 PSYC 1A 3
Spanish 3,4 SPAN 1B 5
5 SPAN 2A 5
Statistics 3,4,5 MATH 5 3


* Scores of “3” may not be accepted by some colleges and universities.

Procedures for Credit by Examination - Nursing Program

Students will receive the following orientation regarding Credit by Examination:

1. All nursing program students will sign a statement that they have been made aware of the college policies on Credit by Examination.

2. Students challenging a nursing course must be eligible for the course and must have met all program entry prerequisites, including admission procedures for the nursing program.

3. The college reserves the right to deny challenge to any specific course.

Academic Standards

Dean’s List

Special recognition is accorded students who maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average during any semester in which they accumulate at least 12 graded (A, B, C, D, F) units at Gavilan College. Dean’s List achievement shall be noted on the student’s transcript.

President's Honor Roll

Special recognition is accorded to students who earn a 3.5 or higher grade point average during any semester in which they accumulate at least 15 graded units (A, B, C, D, F) at Gavilan College. President’s Honor Roll achievement shall be noted on the student’s transcript, and additional special recognition shall be given.

Standards for Probation

Academic Probation: A student who has attempted at least 12 semester units as shown by the official academic record shall be placed on academic probation if the student has earned an accumulated grade point average below 2.0.

Progress Probation: A student who has enrolled in a total of at least 12 semester units as shown by the official academic records shall be placed on progress probation when “W,” “I,” and “NC” recorded entries reach or exceed fifty percent (50%) of all units in which a student has enrolled.

Removal from Probation: A student who is on academic probation for a grade point deficiency shall be removed from probation when the student’s accumulated grade point average is 2.0 or higher.

A student on progress probation because of an excess of units for which entries of “W,” “I,” and “NC” are recorded shall be removed from probation when the percentage of units in this category drops below fifty percent (50%).

Standards for Dismissal

A student who is on academic probation shall be subject to dismissal from the college if the student earned a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0 in all units attempted in each of three consecutive semesters.

A student who has been placed on progress probation shall be subject to dismissal if the percentage of units in which the student has been enrolled for which entries of “W,” “I,” and “NC” are recorded in at least three consecutive semesters reaches or exceeds fifty percent (50%).

A student who has been dismissed may petition for reinstatement with a written petition. The petition will be reviewed by a counselor. A decision can include continued enrollment, continued enrollment with a reduced unit load for a predetermined period or dismissal from the college for a predetermined period of time. Petitions are available from the counselors and the Admissions and Records Office.

A student deficient in grade points who transfers to Gavilan College from another college will be admitted on probationary status and allowed to remain as long as a 2.0 or higher grade point average is maintained.

Academic Renewal

In accordance with state guidelines, under appropriate conditions, students may:

1. Repeat a course graded “D”, “F”, or “NC”. The grade and units of the first attempt will remain on the student’s permanent record but will be annotated to show that they are no longer computed in the grade point average.

2. Petition for renewal of a maximum of three terms of substandard course work which is not reflective of the student’s demonstrated ability. To be eligible for renewal, the following criteria must be met:

a. A period of two years has elapsed between the time of the petition and the date of the course work to be renewed.

b. Subsequent to the semester being renewed, the student must complete either:

• 30 or more units with a grade point average of 2.0 or

• 24 units with a grade point average of 2.5 or

• 18 units with a grade point average of 3.0

No grade or course will be removed from the student’s permanent record. However, the record will be annotated to show that the coursework for that term is not computed in the grade point average. Subject completion, but not unit value, will be allowed for any course completed satisfactorily in the term(s) to be renewed for the purpose of satisfying requirements for a certificate or degree. (All work, including the semester(s) for which academic renewal has been granted, will be computed in determining honors (3.50) at graduation.)

Cooperative Work Experience

The Cooperative Work Experience Program provides an opportunity for the application and integration of specific knowledge and skills to current work place practices.

Cooperative internships emphasize the development of individualized performance objectives. Insights obtained in an actual occupational internship and the experience obtained from business and industry result in skills that are essential to fast track career futures.

A student may earn from 1 to 16 units which may be accepted in certain vocational programs as electives and as elective transfer credit by four-year colleges and universities. Students should consult with counselors for specific transferability guidelines. Students must have a job and a "C" grade point average to enroll.

Distance Learning

Distance learning refers to instruction delivered through technology to students at a distance from their instructors. Distance learning courses are available in a variety of disciplines. All courses are academically equivalent to traditional classroom instruction and include substantial readings and interaction with faculty.

The methods of instruction include online courses and telecourses. Online classes are offered to students using a computer with an individual email account and access to the World Wide Web. Students enrolled in online classes will meet with their instructors and classmates through the Internet. The majority of coursework is done online, however, one or more on-campus meetings may be required.

Telecourses are presented through a set of videos, which can be checked out from the Hollister Briggs site, the Morgan Hill Community Center or the Gavilan College Library. Courses are also cablecast on GavTV (channel 18 in Gilroy, Hollister and San Juan Bautista.) There may be some required meetings for classes; check the individual course listings for details.

For information, contact the Distance Education Coordinator via email at For current listings on distance learning classes, see the website at

Evening Program

The evening program at Gavilan College is an extension of the day program. Courses meeting the requirements for the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees and for transfer in most majors to four-year institutions and a variety of occupational/technical courses are available at all three locations. A student may choose to attend only at night, or combine day and evening courses.

Many college facilities are available on the main campus to students enrolled in the evening program. These include the college library, counseling services, tutoring services, the science, arts, business and occupational laboratories, the student bookstore, cafeteria, transfer services and the Student Center. The satellite sites in Hollister and Morgan Hill are also open in the evening.

Study Abroad Programs

Gavilan College will be offering students the opportunity for world-wide learning experiences through various travel and study programs. These programs may be offered during summer sessions or the regular fall or spring semesters.

Gavilan has previously offered programs that have included travel and study in Mexico, England, Spain and other countries.

For a current list of course opportunities, see the Class Schedule or the College Website or contact the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Office at (408) 848-4760.

South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium

As a member of the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium, Gavilan College offers courses for students who are interested in Correctional Officer, Law Enforcement, Reserve Police Officer, Dispatcher, Fire Technology, Probation Officer, or Juvenile Hall Counselor careers. The Consortium is funded by all colleges regionally to provide vocational specific training which may require special facilities, special training conditions or is presented outside of the regular schedule of college classes.

The application and registration process is completed at the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium Center located in south San Jose. Although open to the public, the majority of these courses are intended to serve the “already employed”. If you have questions about these courses, or if you would like information about a career in any of these programs, please call (408) 270-6458 or visit the webpage at