Grading Policies

You are here

Faculty within this college have the option of awarding grades with a plus (+) or minus (-) designation, except for A+.  Faculty teaching courses have complete authority for calculating and assigning final grades in courses they teach.  The university has a standardized grading system which is identified below (credit points for each hour of credit is in parentheses).

Repeated Courses

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.

Incomplete Grades

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).  The Incomplete Grade Record form is available online as well as in department offices and the Dean’s Office.  In all cases, the course with the incomplete grade must be completed on the campus in which the Incomplete was earned.

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 an engineering 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.

No Credit (NC)

A course taken for no credit 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 through the college before enrolling for any course no credit.  A student is still subject to course tuition and fee expenses when registering for a course with the no credit option.

Pass/Fail (P/F)

The primary purpose for offering the opportunity for a student to enroll in a course for a grade of P or F rather than the standard letter grade is to encourage students to broaden their educational experience by electing challenging courses without serious risk to the cumulative grade point average.  P/F credit will be permitted only for courses used as electives or for courses above and beyond degree requirements. Students on academic probation may not elect the P/F grade option.

Not all major departments in the College allow students to take courses pass/fail.  Where allowed, the maximum number of credit hours a student may elect P/F shall be designated by the student’s major department.  Because the P/F policy varies from department to department, students are required to submit a petition to their major department requesting approval to register for a course with the pass/fail grade 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.  

Per approval of the campus-wide Study Abroad Committee in December 2004, credit earned on study abroad programs that convert grades to Pass/Fail are exempt from institutional limits placed on Pass/Fail credit.

A grade of P (D- or above) in a course means that the course hours may be counted toward the credit hours required for graduation.  A grade of F in a course will be recorded and the credit hours of the course will be used in the calculation of the student’s grade point average just as is done with a grade of F in a normal registration.

Students can register for a course P/F only during the registration or schedule adjustment (drop/add) periods.  Students who desire to change a course from standard grading to P/F, or vice versa, must do so through the Registrar’s Office and it must be done before the designated deadline date.

Prerequisites and Passing Grades

The minimum passing grade for a course that is considered a pre-requisite for another required course is C-, although some majors require a grade of C for all pre-requisite courses in their curricula (aerospace engineering sciences and mechanical engineering).  If the minimum required grade in a prerequisite course is not achieved, the student is required to repeat the course until the minimum acceptable grade has been earned (maximum of 3 attempts total to master the subject content at the required level).  If a student takes the advanced (post-requisite) course, it does not remove the obligation to meet the prerequisite course minimum grade requirement, even if the grade earned in the advanced course is acceptable.  In general, the minimum passing grade for a course that is not specifically a prerequisite for another required course is D-.  However, individual majors may require higher minimum grades for specific courses in their curricula (which may or may not be prerequisite courses). 

Grade Appeals

The college’s grade appeal policy may be found here.  

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

University of Colorado Boulder
© Regents of the University of Colorado
PrivacyLegal & Trademarks
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Contact Us