Grading System

See the “University” section of this Bulletin for a list of valid grades for the School of Graduate Studies and their appropriate use in assigning to graduate students. The only grades that can be changed after they have been assigned by the instructor are Incompletes (I). All others will remain permanently on the student’s academic record. Additional work cannot be done to change an existing grade to a higher grade.

There are some grading schemes in the School of Graduate Studies that have important policy implications. They are:


Grades of I should only be assigned for letter-graded and Pass/No Pass courses for extenuating circumstances, and only when a student fails to complete a small segment of the course. Students may not sit in the same course in a later semester to complete the work required for the original course. All work for the incomplete grade must be made up, and the change of grade recorded in the Office of the University Registrar, by the date specified by the instructor, but no later than the last day of class in the semester following the one in which the I was received. Grade changes received after that date must be accompanied by a petition signed by both the advisor and the chair of the department indicating the reason for the late change and must be approved by the Deputy Provost. Unresolved Incomplete grades will remain permanently on the student’s academic record, if the work is not made up by the designated deadline. A student who has a permanent Incomplete for a required course must retake the course in a later term. When an I grade is assigned by the instructor, he or she must also submit to the School of Graduate Studies the completed “Arrangement to Resolve a Grade of Incomplete” form (website: indicating the date that the I grade will be resolved. If the student cannot complete the work for the Incomplete by the specified deadline, he or she must petition for an extension which must be endorsed by the instructor, and explain the reasons why the work has not been completed, and include a new date for completion. Students will be allowed only one extension of no more than one additional semester to complete the work for an I grade.


Some graduate courses are graded on a pass or no pass basis, and students need to be aware of the regulations governing letter graded and pass/no pass credits. Of the minimum credit hours required beyond the bachelor’s degree to complete course work requirements, at least 12 credits must be letter graded for the master’s degree, and at least 24 credits must be letter graded for the Ph.D. degree. For students with approved master’s degrees who are admitted to Ph.D. programs, at least 12 credits of the required minimum of 18 credits of course work must be letter graded. Letter graded courses should be the courses most central to the student’s plan of study. Additional credit hours of letter graded course work may be specified by departmental policy. Performance evaluation for course 601 (Independent study/Research) is limited to P/NP grading.


Grades of Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) are to be used exclusively for two courses: 651 thesis research and 701, dissertation research. “Satisfactory” indicates an acceptable level of progress towards completion of the research required for the degree, and Unsatisfactory indicates an unacceptable level of progress towards completion of the research for the degree. Any student who receives a grade of U will automatically be put on academic probation, and if a second U is received, the student will be separated from further study in his or her degree program.