Current Grad: Academic Standards
Prerequisites and Passing Grades
The minimum passing grade for a course that is considered a prerequisite for another course is C-, allowing a student to progress through the curriculum and apply these courses towards degree requirements. 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 graded 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 prerequiste for another required course is D-. However, individual degree programs in the College may require higher minimum grades for specific terminal courses in their curricula.
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 fill out the Change of Record Form and submit it to the Dean’s Office for final approval before it is forwarded to the Records Office in Regent Administrative Center. 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.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the quality hours into the quality points. (The difference between quality hours and earned 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.
Incomplete grades are given only when students for documented reasons beyond their control are unable to complete course requirements. The College only recognizes the incomplete grade of IF (incomplete; changed to F if not completed within one year). An IF 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). Students are encouraged to work with an instructor to complete this form to document the agreement and not to rely on a verbal agreement. The IF Grade Record form is available in department offices and the Dean’s Office or online here. In all cases, the course with the incomplete grade must be completed on the campus in which the IF was earned, and the identical course must be completed to remove the IF grade.
Incomplete grades are not calculated into the GPA. By completing a course in which the student received an IF grade, this IF grade will not convert to an F as long students complete and pass the course within one year. Students cannot repeat an equivalent course at another campus of the University or at another institution and expect the CU-Boulder grade of IF to be removed, changed, or excluded from conversion to an F. Generally, students are expected to complete any course with an IF grade and not to re-enroll in an Engineering course in which a grade of IF 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. Students must petition through the College before enrolling for any course no credit. Students are still subject to course tuition and fee expenses when registering for a course with the no credit option.
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 engineering departments 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. Transfer students are allowed one (1) hour Pass/Fail for every nine (9) hours completed in this College as a degree student under the Standard Grading System.
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.
A master’s degree student is required to maintain at least a B (3.00) average in all work attempted while enrolled in the Graduate School. Admission to Ph.D. candidacy requires a 3.25 average. For both the master's degree and Ph.D., a course mark below B- is unsatisfactory and will not be counted toward fulfilling the minimum requirements for the degree.*
A student, who fails to maintain a 3.00 grade point average or to make adequate progress toward completing a degree, as assessed by the student’s academic/research advisor, will be subject to suspension or dismissal from the Graduate School upon consultation with the major department. The final decision on suspension or dismissal will be made by the dean of the Graduate School.
*An incomplete (I) grade is given only when students, for documented reasons beyond their control, have been unable to complete course requirements in the semester enrolled. A substantial amount of work must have been satisfactorily completed before approval of such a grade is given. At the end of one year, any I grade given for a course that is not successfully completed is regarded as an F and shown as such on the student’s transcript.
Students should refer to the version of the Graduate Handbook in effect at the time of their matriculation for degree plan requirements. Students who are readmitted or continue on from the MS to the Ph.D. program are subject to the handbook in effect at the time of their continuation start date.