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Grades and Quality Points

Academic achievement is designated by letter grades, distinguished by plus and minus, to which numerical quality points are assigned. Students are expected to attain certain quality-point averages to meet various academic standards. For graduation, as an example, the cumulative GPA must be no less than 2.00 in all courses for undergraduates and 3.00 for graduate students. The requirements and quality points assigned for each grade are as follows:

A: 4.00 points and A–: 3.67 points. These grades indicate achievement of the highest caliber. They involve expectations of independent work, original thinking, and the ability to acquire and use knowledge effectively.

A (Honors): 8.0 points. This grade, given for the two course units in senior Honors, merits the degree citation with Honors in the field of study.

B+: 3.33 points, B: 3.00 points, and B–: 2.67 points. These grades indicate higher than average achievement. Evidence of independent work and original thinking is expected.

C+: 2.33 points, C: 2.00 points, and C–: 1.67 points. These grades are given when the student has devoted a reasonable amount of time, effort, and attention to the work of the course and has satisfied the following criteria: familiarity with the content of the course, familiarity with the methods of study of the course, and active participation in the work of the class.

D+: 1.33 points, D: 1.00 point, and D–: 0.67 point. These grades indicate unsatisfactory work, below the standard expected by the University, in which one or more important aspects falls below the average expected of students for graduation. The work is, however, sufficient to be credited for graduation if balanced by superior work in other courses.

F: No points. This indicates failure.

P: No points. Indicates Pass in courses taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Does not affect the GPA.

NC: No points. Indicates failure in courses taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Does not affect the GPA.

WWF: No points. These designations indicate withdrawal from a course before completion. W is assigned for all withdrawals prior to the official withdrawal deadline, normally before the last four weeks of the term; WF is assigned if withdrawal takes place after the official withdrawal deadline, except that in cases of illness or other extenuating circumstances the Office of the Provost may authorize a grade of W. A WF is computed in the quality-point average as an F. W does not affect the GPA.

AUD: No points. The designation Audit is used for students granted permission to attend classes for the benefit they can derive from lectures and discussions but who are not taking the course for credit. An audit designation indicates attendance at a minimum of two-thirds of the class meetings of the course.

INC: No points. An incomplete is assigned when, in the judgment of the instructor, circumstances beyond the student's control prevented completion of the work of the course within the term or session. Typically, a student is expected to have completed at least 50% of the coursework and have a passing grade in order to be provided an option for an INC.

Instructors should not make this judgment alone, but should consult with appropriate school Dean to ensure fair and equitable treatment of students, as well as alignment with any relevant institutional policies or federal laws. (Permission of the Office of the Provost, however, is required to postpone a final examination.)

When assigning INC, the faculty and the student must agree on a plan for the completion of any relevant course materials, including expected dates by which the work is to be completed as well as what the grade will be if said work is not completed. Under such circumstances, a student is given 42 calendar days from the last day of examinations to complete the course.  (Instructors must provide the student, in writing, with a list of missing assignments and a timetable for completion.) At the expiration of the 42 calendar day period, the INC will be replaced by a final grade assigned by the instructor or, if the work has not been completed, by an grade of F. Due to accelerated nature of Winter Term, May term and summer courses, incomplete grades are not permitted for classes taken during these sessions, except where ADA regulations would apply. A grade of incomplete is never to be given when the instructor needs more time to grade, to allow a few extra days for students to finish an assignment, or because a student has stopped attending class.  

Note: A grade earned in a final examination, paper, or presentation is not weighted more than one-third in computing the final grade for a course. This restriction does not apply to Honors, independent studies, internships, or recitals.

Pass/No Credit

In order to counteract excessive preoccupation with grades and to encourage students to take advanced courses outside their major areas of study, courses may be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis subject to the following limitations and regulations:

  • The option is open only to students who are degree candidates and who have earned a minimum of 14 course units.
  • Pass/No Credit is allowed for no more than one course unit per academic term.
  • A maximum of four course units may be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis.
  • The option is limited to elective courses outside requirements for the major or minor and outside LinC requirements.
  • Students declare their intention to take the Pass/No Credit option for a course at the time of registration, but in no case may they indicate this option later than the end of the first five calendar days of the fall and/or spring terms. Instructor permission must be sent, in writing, to the Office of the Registrar.
  • A grade of P is assigned if the course is passed. A grade of NC (No Credit) is assigned if the course is failed. In neither case will the grade be computed in the term or cumulative GPA or the average in the major field.
  • A student who elects to take the course on a Pass/No Credit basis is permitted to change to a graded basis at any time during the term up to the official withdrawal deadline, normally before the last four weeks of a term, by submitting an email to the course instructor and Office of the Registrar. Under no circumstances, however, is a student permitted to change from a graded basis to Pass/No Credit after the first five calendar days of the term.
  • After due consultation with the instructor of the course, a student who has maintained an average of B or better in a course taken on the Pass/No Credit basis has the option of not taking the course's final examination.

Note: Certain physical education courses, student teaching, music ensemble participation, music lessons (for non-majors and non-minors), and specified other courses are graded Pass/No Credit for all students. These do not count toward the maximum of four course units of P/NC work specified above, nor do the other restrictions outlined above apply to these courses.