The Grading System

Graduate courses in all three stages (e.g., Stage I, Stages II/III) are graded A+, A, A-, etc., and numerical averages are calculated on a 4.0 scale. Thus 16 hours of A = 4.0, 8 hours of A and 8 hours of B = 3.5, 4 hours of A and 12 hours of B = 3.25, etc. Credit for a course in which a student has received an F cannot be counted toward the degree. Points in the computation of grade-point averages are as follows:

  • A+   4.00
  • A     4.00
  • A-   3.67
  • B+   3.33
  • B     3.00
  • B-   2.67
  • C+   2.33
  • C     2.00
  • C-   1.67
  • D+   1.33
  • D     1.00
  • D-   0.67
  • F     0.00
    (no plus or minus for F)


  • W — Officially Withdrawn from a course. No grade is given.
  • EX — Temporarily EXcused.
  • DF — Grade temporarily deferred. Used only in 599, the dissertation research course.
  • S or U — Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Used as final grades only in the Thesis Research course (599); not included in the GPA computation.
  • CR or NC — Credit or No Credit.
  • AB — ABsent from the final examination without an acceptable excuse; counts as a failure (F) in the GPA.

An accepted dissertation is graded S; grades in English 593 are entered as S or U. A limited number of courses may be taken on a CRedit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) basis but only with the approval of the candidate's advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Although the Graduate College requires that a student's GPA meet the minimum of a B or 3.0 for degree purposes, it holds that a C is a legitimate grade and may count toward the degree. It also allows individual departments to require a minimum of B for all courses if they wish to. In the English Department, we allow a C to count toward the degree and to satisfy distribution requirements. It should be noted, however, a C at the graduate level is an indication of a serious deficiency in the quality of work and, though it will count toward the degree and satisfy distribution requirements, it does not augur well for — in fact, it militates against — admission to the PhD program or further financial support. We expect our students will maintain at least a 3.5 grade-point average.



A student who cannot finish the work of a course during the semester he or she is enrolled may ask the instructor to grant a grade of I (Incomplete). The instructor need not grant this request, and some instructors announce at the beginning of a semester a policy of no excused grades.

By Graduate College ruling, a grade of Incomplete must be replaced by a letter grade no later than 5:00 p.m. of Reading Day of the next semester in which the student is registered, or it automatically becomes an F grade. If the student does not enroll the following semester in a graded course, the incomplete grade becomes an F-by-rule after one year. Incomplete grades earned in the spring semester will not be converted to F-by-rule until the end of the following fall semester, whether or not the student registers for the summer term. A student will not be certified for a degree with an incomplete grade in the academic record.

Except in an extreme emergency, a student should not take an I in more than one course in any semester and should remove the I well before the beginning of the following term. I grades may affect the awarding or retaining of financial aid and teaching assistantships. Students with an Incomplete from the previous semester must submit all completed work to the instructor and to the Graduate Studies Office no later than two weeks prior to reading day. Individual Instructors may require the work to be turned in sooner than this. Instructors who give permission for work to be turned in later than this date must inform the Graduate Office of the deadline in writing. On Reading Day, a grade must be turned in if the I is not to turn to an F. When the instructor submits the grade, the Incomplete will be erased and the course grade inserted in its place.

It is the policy of the graduate program that students with two or more Incompletes outstanding at the time that teaching contracts are signed in JULY, or when instructors must be secured in JANUARY, will have their teaching assistantships reduced. Every effort should be made to take as few I’s as possible and to clear them expeditiously.

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