Grading Policies

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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).

Letter Grade Quality Points  
A (4.0) Superior/Excellent
A- (3.7)  
B+ (3.3)  
B (3.0) Good/Better Than Average
B- (2.7)  
C+ (2.3)  
C (2.0) Competent/Average
C- (1.7) (Minimum Passing Grade in Many Pre-Requisite Courses)
D+ (1.3)  
D (1.0)  
D- (0.7) (Minimum Passing Grade if Not Pre-Requisite Course)
F (0.0) Failing Grade


Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the quality hours into the quality points.  The difference between earned hours and quality hours is that quality hours include coursework used to calculate the GPA (which includes failed courses but not courses passed under the pass/fail grade option).  Earned hours include transfer hours awarded and University of Colorado courses passed under the pass/fail grade option as well as standard grading.  GPAs accumulated at other institutions do not transfer to the University of Colorado.

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.

Grade Changes

Occasionally, instructors must change the original grade they recorded on their final grade list.  To do this, the instructor must complete a Change of Record (COR) form which may be obtained through department offices or the Dean’s Office.  For security reasons, students are not allowed to be in possession of this form.  Faculty or instructors must fill out the Change of Record Form, with a reason for the grade change indicated, and submit it to the student’s Dean’s Office for final approval before it is forwarded to the Registrar’s Office .  The Dean’s Office will not approve a grade changed for personal considerations or for work submitted after the course was completed, for extra credit or extra time not offered to all class members.  Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be placed directly on academic suspension if retroactive grade changes lower the cumulative or prior semester grade point averages.

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

Often but not always, the minimum passing grade for a course that is considered a pre-requisite for another required course is C- (or C for the aerospace engineering sciences major).  A course in which a grade of C- or better has been received may not be repeated.  If a grade of D+ or lower is received in a course which is prerequisite to another, the student is required to repeat the course until the minimum acceptable course grade has been earned (maximum of 3 attempts total to master the subject content at the required level).  If a student takes the advanced course, it does not remove the obligation to repeat the prerequisite course, even if the grade earned in the advanced course is a C- or above.  The minimum passing grade for a course that is not specifically a prerequisite for another required course is D-.

Grade Appeals

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

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