The University of Iowa

Second-Grade-Only Option (SGO)

What is the Second-Grade-Only Option?

Students admitted to University College may repeat up to three courses for a different grade, regardless of the grade originally earned in the course. If a student repeats a course and officially requests the second-grade-only option, both grades will be visible on the permanent record, but only the second grade will be used in GPA calculations and counted as hours earned. Unless, and until, the second-grade-only option is requested, both grades will continue to be counted in the grade point averages.

The second-grade-only option (SGO) may be used only for University of Iowa courses.  A course taken at another college or university may not be repeated at the University of Iowa under the SGO, nor may a UI course be repeated at another institution under the SGO.

If you plan to apply to a graduate or professional program, keep in mind that these programs may require a review of all your grades. Because both the first and second grade remain visible on your permanent record, a graduate program might include the original grades in a calculation of your total grade point average.

On the permanent record, the SGO appears as a pound symbol (#), showing that the first grade has been replaced by the second grade in the GPA calculations, and that only the hours from the second registration have been counted as hours earned.

How can I request a SGO?

PLEASE NOTE:  These instructions are ONLY for students admitted to degree programs offered in University College (i.e.; BAS, BLS).  If you are admitted to another college at the University of Iowa, such as Liberal Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, or Nursing, you must consult with your collegiate office to request a SGO.  Not sure which college you are admitted to?  Go to MyUI --  STUDENT INFORMATION - Program of Study & Advisors.

Students admitted to University College programs (BAS, BLS, Continuing Education, etc.) should contact the Academic Standards Committee at  

Your request for a SGO should include your full name, university id, and the course(s) you are requesting to use the SGO for.


When should I request a SGO?

Most students request the SGO before the last day of class in order for the second grade to appear on their next grade report. You may also make this request after the close of the semester. However, you cannot request that an SGO be applied to coursework for which you have already been awarded a UI degree.

I requested the SGO, but now I don’t want to use it. Can I reverse my decision?

You may reverse your decision before the close of the semester of your second enrollment in the repeated course. Once the SGO is placed on your record, it may not be retracted. (Note: If you drop the course after you have requested the SGO, the SGO will not be applied to your record.)

Do I have to have failed the course the first time, in order to request the SGO?

No. You may repeat the course regardless of the grade you earned.

Can I request an SGO for any course I am repeating?

No. In order to be eligible, both courses must

  • be University of Iowa courses (including regularly scheduled on-campus courses, Guided Independent Study, distance learning courses, and off-campus courses);
  • not be considered an instance of regression;
  • have identical course numbers and titles (if the original course is no longer offered, you may be able to substitute a course, but only if this is authorized by the department);
  • have been taken in or after the 1969 fall semester.

NOTE: The University of Iowa has adopted a new course numbering system. A course may be identified by its current number, its legacy (old) number, or both. A course taken under the old number and repeated under the current number will be considered the same course with respect to use of the SGO.

I took an on-campus course that I’d like to repeat online and use the SGO option. Can I do that?

Yes, if it is the same course. Any UI course taken in any mode of delivery may be repeated in the same mode of delivery or in another mode of delivery.

Can I request a different grading system for a course I want to retake?  

It depends. If you took the course for a grade the first time, you must take it for a grade the second time. If you took it AUS/AUU, P/N, S/F, or S/U the first time, you can take it for a grade the second time, or for AUS/AUU, P/N, S/F, or S/U.

Can I SGO a course I took at another school here at  UI or can I SGO a UI course at another school? 

No. A course taken at another college or university may not be repeated at the University of Iowa under the UI second-grade-only option nor may a UI course be repeated at another institution under the second-grade-only option.