Academic Expectations & Policies

Degree-seeking undergraduate students in the College who complete at least 12 semester credit hours taken for a letter grade on the Boulder Campus during the Fall or Spring semester, and earn at least a 3.600 semester GPA, are automatically placed on the Dean’s List. Notation of the Dean’s List is placed on the student’s transcript (displayed at the end of the semester earned).

To ensure the prompt completion of degree requirements, an undergraduate student is expected to register for and complete a full-time course load (i.e., 12 or more credit hours each semester). A student must petition to be enrolled in less than 12 credit hours or more than 19 credit hours during any semester. Part-time enrollment may negatively impact a student’s financial aid, scholarships, four-year graduation guarantee, health insurance, and/or on-campus housing.

If you fail a course that is required for your degree, you will need to retake it and pass it in order to meet your degree requirements. All “F” grades are calculated into your GPA and can cause a significant decline in GPA. If you are struggling in a course, contact your academic advisor to learn more about student support services.

If a student wishes to appeal his or her final grade in an engineering undergraduate or graduate level course, please refer to the College’s official grade appeal policy and procedures on the college's faculty and staff website.

Minimum Grades At minimum, pre-requisite courses require a grade of C- or higher to enroll in the subsequent course. Some majors require an even higher grade for pre-requisite courses. Some majors require minimum grades in certain courses, even if they are not pre-requisite courses. Check with you academic advisor regarding grade minimums for your major.
Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) You must maintain 2.250 semester and cumulative GPAs to maintain good academic standing in the College. In order to graduate with a BS degree, you must have a 2.250 cumulative GPA as well as a 2.250 Major GPA.

The overall University of Colorado GPA (also called Cumulative GPA) is computed as follows:

  • Add up all the "quality points" for the courses you have taken.  You can find the quality points earned for each course printed on your transcript in the far right column (you can print an unofficial copy of your transcript from
  • Divide the total number of quality points by the quality units to get your GPA. Courses with grade symbols of P, NC, *** , W, and I are excluded when totaling the credit hours that go into quality units.
  • Tip: See the very end of your transcript for the total number of quality points, and quality units, going into your cumulative GPA.

Your Major GPA is calculated as follows:

  • Add up the “quality points” for courses in your major (e.g., MCEN courses if you are a mechanical engineering major, PHYS courses if you are an engineering physics major, check with your advisor to learn which courses go into your Major GPA).
  • Divide the total number of quality points by the total number of major-course quality units to get your Major GPA.

Grades of F earned for courses graded on a pass/fail option are included in the GPA.  Incompletes that are not completed within one year are calculated as F grades in the GPA.

Tip: Your degree audit calculates and displays your “Cumulative GPA” and “Major GPA”.

Students must meet all graduation requirements to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a College of Engineering and Applied Science degree program.

Incomplete grades are given only when students, for documented reasons beyond their control, are unable to complete course requirements. A substantial amount of work must have been satisfactorily completed before approval for such a grade is given. An Incomplete Grade Record Form must be completed by the instructor and student. In addition to reflecting the course and term taught, it also states what work must be completed to award the final grade and when the work must be finished (not to exceed one year). Incomplete grades are not calculated into the GPA. If a student does not complete a course assigned an Incomplete grade within one year, the Incomplete grade will automatically convert to an F grade. Students cannot repeat an equivalent course at another campus of the university or at another institution and expect the CU-Boulder grade of “I” to be removed, changed, or excluded from conversion to an F. A student is expected to complete any course with an “I” grade and not to re-enroll in a course in which a grade of “I” was awarded. Once the work has been completed, the instructor must complete and submit a Change of Record form. However, it is the student's responsibility to verify that the grade change was processed and is reflected properly on the transcript.

Independent Study is an opportunity for students to earn academic credit for learning outside the formal class structure, under the individual direction of a faculty member. Independent Study is provided to fill an academic need of importance to the student that cannot be filled by the regular curriculum. View the Independent Study Agreement for policy details and the Independent Study Agreement form.

A course taken for no credit (also known as “auditing a course”) cannot be used for fulfilling graduation requirements. Once a course has been taken for no credit it cannot be repeated for a grade. Consequently, a student must petition before enrolling for any course no credit (by the third week of classes at the latest). A student is still subject to course tuition and fee expenses when registering for a course with the no credit option.

The College allows a maximum of six pass/fail credit hours per semester. Pass/fail hours counting toward graduation shall not exceed a cumulative total of 16. Not all majors in the College allow students to take courses pass/fail. Because this varies, students are required to submit a petition requesting approval to register for a course with the pass/fail grade option (by the third week of classes at the latest). CU Boulder sponsored study abroad programs convert grades to Pass/Fail and are exempt from institutional limits placed on Pass/Fail credit.

A student may not enroll more than three times in a course that applies towards degree requirements; furthermore, after the third attempt, a student may not substitute an equivalent course. This means that a student has a maximum of three opportunities to show sufficient mastery of a particular subject area, whether the course is from CU-Boulder or through another collegiate institution. Furthermore, the most recent occurrence of the subject is the grade which is applied (e.g., to meet a grade required for a pre-requisite course). If a student has earned AP or IB college credit and then subsequently enrolls in that course content, the later grade is applied. All grades will be employed to calculate grade point averages, including any courses which are repeated.  Students are not to register for courses in which they already have received a final grade of C- or higher (unless their degree program requires a higher grade in the course).

The last 45 credit hours of the 128 required for the BS degree must be earned via CU Boulder coursework only and while rostered in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

To remain in good academic standing in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, a student must maintain satisfactory academic performance as measured by grade point average (GPA) criteria and satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in the College. CU Cumulative, Semester, and Major GPAs should all be at or greater than 2.250. Failure to meet these requirements results in the student being placed on Academic Alert, Academic Recovery, and/or Academic Suspension. Academic progress in this College is determined by grades and averages reported on the student’s CU transcript.