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Graduate programs use an “A,” “B,” “C” grading system in 500‑level courses. Grades of “D” do not earn graduate credit. In 400‑level courses students must achieve “A” or “B” grades to earn graduate credit; grades of “B-” or less do not earn graduate credit. To be considered a “student in good standing” a graduate student must maintain a grade point average of 3.0.

The following symbols are used to evaluate course work:

Symbol Description


Superior graduate-level work. 4 quality points per credit hour.

A –

Excellent graduate-level work. 3.7 quality points per credit hour.


Audit. (Awarded only if student attends class regularly throughout the semester.)


Auditor who fails to fulfill attendance requirements.

B +

Good graduate-level work. 3.3 quality points per credit hour.


Above average graduate-level work. 3 quality points per credit hour.

B –

Average graduate-level work. 2.7 quality points per credit hour. (Acceptable in 500-level courses only).

C +

Fair graduate-level work. 2.3 quality points per credit hour. (Acceptable in 500-level courses only.)


Poor graduate-level work. 2 quality points per credit hour. (Acceptable in 500-level courses only.)


Credit. (For use with departmental approval only. This is the normal grade for satisfactory completion of the master’s thesis, certain workshops, and student teaching.)


Not acceptable for graduate credit.




Incomplete. Work incomplete. Work is to be completed within one month following the last normal examination date of the semester in which the grade is incurred.


Course in progress. (For use with departmental approval only.)


Absent from final examination.


Withdrawal through proper procedure while passing, or without prejudice to standing.


Withdrawal without following proper procedure.


SA Satisfactory for use with noncredit courses only.

It is expected that except for extraordinary circumstances the requirements for a graduate-level course will be completed by the date of the final examination in that course. A student who is unable to complete final assignments in light of serious, documented medical or extenuating circumstances (e.g. incapacitating illness, injury, accident, or death of an immediate family member) may ask the instructor for an Incomplete grade through an academic petition. Incomplete grades are normally granted when a student is currently earning a passing grade and has completed the majority of the work at the time of the Incomplete request, and the withdrawal deadline has passed. Fall and spring semester requests should be submitted by the end of Reading Day, or by Monday of the last week of classes for summer. An Incomplete may not be requested after Final grades are due, unless there are verifiable extenuating circumstances.

To start the Incomplete request process, the student must submit an academic petition. A separate petition is required for each request. The student may be required to submit documentation at the instructor’s request to the Graduate Studies Office. The respective office will confirm receipt of the supporting documentation with the students’ instructors. Only in exceptional circumstances will the University grant an Incomplete not initiated by the student.

The assignment of an Incomplete is solely at the discretion of the instructor, who will indicate the terms for course completion in the academic petition. Those terms include a list of all outstanding assignments, a deadline date (if different from the standard one- month submission due date for Incomplete grades), and relevant logistical information (communication preferences and instructions for the submission of make-up work).

All Incomplete work must be submitted to the instructor within one month following the last normal examination date of the semester in which the grade is incurred or the grade of I converts to an F. If the precipitating circumstances behind the initial Incomplete request continue, an extension may be granted with supporting documentation to the associate dean.

A PR grade (course in progress) is ordinarily reserved for a course in which a student is completing the thesis, essay, or creative project in partial fulfillment of degree requirements. If the PR is used in other courses, including independent studies, department/program chair approval is required. It is expected that all pending work should be completed in a timely manner. A grade of PR will be changed to a W (withdrawal without prejudice to standing) two years after it is given or at the end of the semester the student reaches the time limit for completion of the degree (the date specified in the acceptance letter), whatever comes first. Once the PR is changed to W, the W cannot be changed to a standard grade. If a student seeks to complete a course for which the PR has turned to a W, the student will be required to retake the course or its equivalent. Tuition rates at the time the course is retaken will apply. Policies and procedures regarding Readmission and Time Limits for Completion of Degree also apply.

More information regarding the total cost of attendance can be found here.

All graduate students are expected to achieve “A” or “B” grades consistently and maintain a 3.0 grade point average. A student who receives grades of B- or lower at any course level receives a warning from the appropriate dean. Students so warned may continue their program only according to the specific conditions set by the department and may be placed on academic probation by the dean in consultation with the department. Some degree programs have additional grade average requirements.

Students on probation are usually limited to one graduate course in the semester immediately following placement on probationary status. A student who has been placed on probation may be suspended from the program if he or she performs below a 3.0 grade point average during the probationary semester and/or does not meet the conditions stated in the warning letter. He or she will not be permitted to reapply for reinstatement until at least one full semester has elapsed.

A student who is placed on probation for two semesters may be dismissed from the graduate program. A student who fails his or her comprehensive examination twice may be dismissed from the program. Receiving more than two C grades may be cause for dismissal. Departments may have additional guidelines governing dismissal.

Academic honesty, expected of every student, is essential to the process of education and to upholding high ethical standards. Cheating, including plagiarism, inappropriate use of technology, or any other kind of unethical or dishonest behavior, may subject the student to severe academic penalties, including dismissal.

All work submitted for evaluation in a course, including tests, term papers, and computer programs, must represent only the work of the student unless indicated otherwise. This includes homework, essays, theses, and creative projects.

Material taken from the work of others must be acknowledged. Materials submitted to fulfill requirements in one course may not be submitted in another course without prior approval of the instructor(s). Research material and data must be handled in accordance with standards set by the departments.

Concerns about the propriety of obtaining outside assistance and acknowledging sources should be addressed to the instructor of the course before the work commences and as necessary as the work proceeds. Or in the case of theses, essays, and projects, to the advisor before the work commences and as necessary as the work proceeds.

Instructors should indicate specific penalties for academic dishonesty in their course syllabi. Penalties, appropriate to the severity of the infraction, may include zero for the assignment or failure in the course. In cases of academic dishonesty where the student chooses to withdraw from a course rather than receive a course grade of “F”, the grade of “F” instead of “W” may be assigned at the faculty member’s discretion. In egregious cases and/or cases of repeat dishonesty, additional penalties may be determined by the dean, such as suspension or dismissal from the University. In a case of dismissal, Academic Dismissal will be noted on the transcript. The penalty for academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and unethical behavior as it relates to the writing of the final thesis, essay, or creative project may be dismissal from the program.

Any appeal by a student is to be made first to the instructor. If disputes of interpretation arise, the faculty member and chair will attempt to resolve the difficulty with the student. If this does not lead to a resolution, the appropriate associate academic dean of the College of Arts and Sciences or the Boler School of Business normally will rule in the matter. For further discussion of the appeal process, see the Graduate Bulletin.

A written report of the incident by the instructor or department chair will be sent to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who will keep a written record of the complaint when it is filed, and will forward a copy of the complaint to the appropriate associate dean’s office at the time. The associate dean will place a copy of this record in the student’s file and provide the student with a copy. A written record of the complaint is kept for cases of repeat violations. The associate dean will review the case and determine if, in light of other information and records, further disciplinary action is warranted.


The instructor has both the professional competence and the jurisdiction to determine grades; the student has the right to appeal a course grade that the student believes to be in error. The only basis for an appeal is whether the grade has been determined fairly within the grading system adopted by the faculty member. Thus every student has the right to know at the beginning of any semester how the final grade for any particular course will be determined. This means knowing what percentage of the final grade the assignments (tests, quizzes, papers, class participation, etc.) will comprise. For this reason the instructor has the obligation to present this information to the student at the beginning of the semester as part of the syllabus. Once the semester begins, an instructor should not make substantial changes in the grading system and should inform the students of even minor changes. If an instructor does not provide such information, the student has the right to seek redress.


  • Step 1.
    • The student who wishes to contest a course grade should first make an effort to discuss the matter with the instructor and attempt to resolve the problem concerning the disputed grade. (If the instructor is away from the University during the period of the grade appeal, the student may proceed directly to the department chair.)
  • Step 2.
    • If there is no satisfactory resolution at this level and the student wishes to pursue the matter further, the student must initiate a formal grade appeal within a specific time period. (A disputed course grade from the fall semester must be appealed by the end of the sixth week of the spring semester. A disputed course grade from the spring semester or one of the summer sessions must be appealed by the end of the sixth week of the fall semester.) The appeal must be made in writing to the instructor and a copy sent to the department chair, who will then schedule a meeting with the student and the instructor.
  • Step 3.
    • If the department chair cannot resolve the dispute in a manner satisfactory to the parties concerned, the chair will notify the associate dean of the school in which the course is taught. The associate dean will then attempt to resolve the problem.
  • Step 4.
    • a. If the associate dean judges that the appeal is without sufficient basis, the associate dean can so rule, and the case is closed.
    • b. If the associate dean is in doubt or thinks it possible that the grade should be changed contrary to the wishes of the instructor, the appeal moves to a committee comprised of three faculty members from the University. To form the appeals committee, the associate dean will request the Faculty Council to provide a list of the names of nine, randomly selected, faculty members. From this list, the associate dean, the instructor, and the student each will choose three to consider the matter. Faculty unanimously selected will sit on the appeals committee; if agreement on the three cannot be reached, the associate dean will fill any remaining spots on the committee from the names on the list.
    • c. Both the instructor and the student will present their cases to the committee. (The appeals committee will make no effort to establish whether a grading system is academically sound; rather it will attempt to establish whether an instructor’s grading practices and procedures were followed consistently, fairly, and accurately according to the standards set forth in the syllabus and other course directives.)
    • d. The committee will decide by majority vote whether to recommend that the grade be changed and will provide the associate dean with a written explanation of its recommendation. The associate dean will make the final decision after carefully considering the recommendation of the committee. If the final decision is contrary to the recommendation of the committee, the associate dean should explain the reasons for the decision in writing to the committee.
  • Step 5.
    • The associate dean will then notify the instructor, the department chair, and the student of the decision, ordinarily by the end of the semester during which the appeal arose.