Academic Rules



Grading System


TABLE I Letter Grades

Grades Grade Points
per Credit
A 4.0
A- 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.0
B- 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.0
C- 1.667
D 1 1.0
D- 2 .667
F 0

1Grades of D and D- may not be assigned to graduate students.
2 Available only for Law students in LAW courses.

TABLE J Grading Symbols


GRADING SYMBOLS Meaning Grade Points
per Credit
I Incomplete 0 Indicates that, due to exceptional circumstances, a student has made a formal arrangement with the instructor to complete remaining work/assignments after the course ends.
AU Audit Not counted Indicates that a student elected to take the course for no (zero) credit.
NA Did not attend and
did not withdraw
Not counted Indicates that a student never attended the course, or that participation ended so early in the term that there was no basis for evaluation. 
NR Not Required Not counted Used for courses or components of courses that do not require a grade.  
P Pass Not counted Indicates satisfactory completion of a Pass/Fail-graded course or one for which a student elected the Pass/Fail option.
RM Remedial Not counted Used for college-level remedial and developmental courses. 
V Variable length course—
grade not yet due
Not counted Used for courses that do not follow the normal semester timeline. V indicates that normal progress is being made at the end-of-semester point.
WD Withdrew Not counted Indicates that a student withdrew from the course, after the academic drop deadline.


Grades and Grading Symbols - Additional Information


Letter Grades

Undergraduate Students

You may have the option to elect a letter grade in a pass/fail-graded course. When permissible, you must select that option by the grading option deadline, and you may not rescind the selection after the deadline.

I (Incomplete)

You may request an Incomplete if you have exceptional circumstances that prevent you from fulfilling all course requirements on time. You will need your instructor’s approval, and will need to have completed enough course content to have a grade assigned based on your work to date. An Incomplete is not available if you have not completed enough work on which to base a grade. Check with the appropriate instructor about deferred exams and any other requirements. If you take a leave of absence or are withdrawn from the University, you can’t receive Incompletes for courses in which you were registered.

Complete a “Request for Incomplete Grade” form, which is an agreement between you and your instructor that specifies the reasons, conditions, and time limit for removing the Incomplete from your record. An Incomplete will calculate as an F in your GPA. As a function of the agreement, your instructor will calculate a grade for you based on work completed to date, counting unsubmitted work as zero. This is the grade you will receive if a “Removal of Incomplete Grade” form is not submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the appropriate deadline.

AU (Audit)

You may audit courses with instructor and department approval. You must select the audit option by the grading option deadline, and cannot rescind the selection after the deadline. Audited courses are non-credit, do not meet any degree requirements, and aren’t counted toward enrollment status. Instructors may record a grading symbol of NA instead of AU if you don’t meet stated academic or attendance requirements. You will have limited access to SU library resources if you are auditing a class and are not registered for any credit classes for the term. Courses that require a Proposal for Independent Study, studio art or applied music courses offered by the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and University College BPS and LGL courses can’t be audited.

NA (Did not attend and did not withdraw)

An NA is applied when a student either never attends the course, or when participation ended so early in the term that there is no basis for evaluation and the student fails to drop or withdraw.  If enough work is completed to establish an evaluation, a course grade will be calculated on the basis of work submitted. Unsubmitted work will be counted as zero. If you receive an NA for a course, you will no longer have the option of petitioning for an Incomplete or a letter grade.

P/F (Pass/Fail)

Credit is earned for courses with a P, but not with an F.

Note:  Graduate students may only receive pass/fail grades for courses designated as pass/fail.

Undergraduate Students

You may have the option to elect a pass/fail grade for some courses. You must select this option by the grading option deadline, and you may not rescind the selection after the deadline. 

School/college-specific pass/fail rules are listed in the table below. Some additional points:

  • If you select a pass/fail option, grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and D are converted to P. No grade other than P or F will be reported by the Registrar’s Office.
  • If you choose to major in a field in which you previously took a course as pass/fail, your home school/college and the chair of the department in which you took the course will determine whether and upon what terms the course can be used to satisfy departmental requirements.
  • SU Abroad students are limited to one pass/fail course each semester.
  • No more than 24 credit hours of courses taken pass/fail may be applied toward an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate Students

School/College Rules

Architecture All courses taken to fulfill the architectural professional program requirements must receive a letter grade. Only open electives may be taken pass/fail.
Arts and Sciences Liberal Arts Core, major and minor classes cannot be taken pass/fail.
Education Some courses must be taken pass/fail (e.g., EDU 508). These courses are not included in the 24-credit maximum applicable to an undergraduate degree.
Engineering and Computer Science Only free-elective courses at the 300-level and above or physical education courses may be taken pass/fail. Students are not permitted to have more than 18 credit hours of pass/fail electives in their complete program.
Management  Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may use the pass/fail option for one class per semester. The course must be 300-level or higher and must be a free elective or a course from groups I, III, IV, or V on the degree check sheet.
Public Communications  A pass/fail course may not be used to satisfy any requirement. Pass/fail courses can be used only as free electives.
Sport and Human Dynamics

Sport Management  Only non-sport management electives may be taken pass/fail.

Social Work  SWK 435 and 445, Field Practicum I and II, are graded pass/fail by school policy.  With this exception, only elective courses may be taken on a pass/fail basis.

University College  Bachelor of Professional Studies students.  A pass/fail course may not be used to satisfy any requirements. Pass/fail courses can be used only as electives. A maximum of 12 credit hours of pass/fail courses may be used toward the degree program.
Visual and Performing Arts Only elective courses may be taken pass/fail.  No studio courses may be taken pass/fail.

RM (Remedial)

RM courses count toward credit hours carried in a particular semester, but not toward credit hours earned for the degree.

WD (Withdrew)

After the academic drop deadline, and until the withdrawal deadline for the term, you may withdraw from a course and have a grading symbol of WD recorded on your transcript.

Reporting Grades/Grading Symbols

Instructors are required to submit grades or appropriate grading symbols for all students in their courses. If a student has not completed all course requirements by the time the instructor must report final grades, then the grade is determined based on work completed to date, counting unsubmitted work as zero, unless the student has made prior arrangements to receive an Incomplete.

Missing Grades

Missing grades do not calculate toward the GPA. You may graduate with missing grades.  After a degree has been certified, a missing grade may be recorded only if your home school/college determines that you completed all coursework before the degree award date, and only the evaluation and grade submission occurred after that date.

Changing Grades

An instructor may elect to submit a grade change after the grade has already been reported. Grade changes must be reported to the department chair, the dean of the student’s home school/college, and the Registrar’s Office. Any or all of those offices may require an explanation of the change, and may require that additional information or forms be provided. All changes involving grading symbols must adhere to University policies and procedures. The Registrar’s Office has final authority to approve changes that involve grading symbols.

Grades may also be changed in the following circumstances:

  • HEOP or SSSP students who receive grades of D or F during the Summer Start program will have these grades recorded as WD on the transcript; by petition a grade of C- may be changed to a WD.
  • Engineering and Computer Science students in the Summer Start program may petition to have grades of C- or lower changed to WD.

Removal of Incomplete

Incomplete (I) grades may be removed prior to graduation in one of two ways:

  • complete the outstanding work specified on the Request for Incomplete Grade form by the agreed-upon date; or
  • if you fail to complete the work specified in the Request for Incomplete Grade form, the Registrar’s Office will post the letter grade indicated by the “If not completed …” statement, subject to any previous grading option that had been selected

Although you may not register for a course a second time for the purpose of removing an Incomplete grade, an instructor may require you to repeat certain elements of a course in order to remove the Incomplete.

Incompletes and Graduation
You may graduate with outstanding Incompletes, if you’ve earned the required number of credits and met all degree requirements, and if your cumulative average equals or exceeds the minimum requirements for your school/college, with the Incompletes calculated as Fs.

After your degree has been certified, a grade may replace an Incomplete only when your home school/college determines that you completed all coursework before the degree award date, with only the evaluation and grade submission occurring after that date.

Grade Appeals

Normal Practice for Course Grade Appeals  The following set of general statements represents normal practice at SU* for a student seeking resolution to a grievance of a course grade.

  1. The assignment of grades at SU is the responsibility of the faculty; once assigned by a member of the faculty, a grade cannot be changed without his or her consent, except by due process as detailed below. In cases where the instructor of record is not a member of the faculty, the faculty member charged with oversight of that instructor is ultimately responsible for the assignment of grades.
  2. A course grade is based upon the instructor’s professional assessment of the academic quality of the student’s performance on a body of work. Such assessments are non-negotiable, and disputes about them do not constitute valid grounds for an appeal. Valid grounds can arise, e.g., when an instructor fails to provide or implement uniform and consistent standards, or bases an assessment on criteria other than academic performance.*
  3. Unless there are issues of a personal nature, the appeal process for a grade dispute begins with the instructor of record. Failure to comply with this may be grounds for denial of subsequent appeals. Any appeal beyond the instructor of record must be initiated in writing to the department chair before the last day of classes of the academic year semester immediately following the one in which the aggrieved grade was received by the Registrar. This written appeal should describe the basis for the grievance, the informal steps taken to resolve the dispute, and the remedies sought.
  4. If satisfaction is not obtained at this or any subsequent level, the appeal always moves to the next level of authority. The levels in succession are: the instructor of record, faculty member in charge of the course, the department chair of the faculty member, the dean of the department chair.
  5. At each level of appeal, a fair and thorough hearing of all views is sought before a decision is made. This may, but need not, require a face-to-face meeting of the parties directly involved in the dispute. A decision may be reached if both student and instructor agree. If such a decision cannot be reached, a panel designed by the college for this purpose shall hear the case. Details of the operation and manner of selection of this panel may vary by school or college**, but shall conform to the following guidelines:
    a. The panel shall have a quorum of at least three.
    b. All voting members of the panel shall be tenured faculty.
    c. No member of the panel shall hear a case who has been involved in a previous stage of the appeal.
    d. Membership of the panel shall be fixed and made public in a given academic year, though replacements may be made in the event of resignations.
    e. Membership of the panel shall be approved by the faculty of the school or college, or by a representative group of the faculty, in each academic year.
    f. The Senate Committee on Instruction shall approve the manner of selection and charge of a school or college’s panel before its first case. The committee shall also approve any subsequent changes in the manner of selection or charge of each college or school’s panel. The panel may, at its discretion, meet with the aggrieved parties either separately or together. The decision of this panel, either to deny the student’s original appeal or to authorize the Registrar to change the grade, shall be final. The panel shall inform both the student and the instructor of its decision in writing. The panel shall also summarize the case and its outcome in a written report to the Senate Committee on Instruction. Said committee may include summary statistics on grade disputes in its final report to the Senate.
  6. The only grounds for any further appeal shall be irregularities in the above procedures.
  7. In such cases, either party may appeal the final decision of the faculty panel to the Senate Committee on Instruction. The Senate Committee on Instruction may either deny the appeal or insist that the procedure begin anew at the point the irregularity occurred.
  8. All stages of the appeal process shall be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible, consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

* For further guidance, consult the bylaws of the individual school or college.
** These procedures do not apply for students in the College of Law.