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Grading Regulations

Article II of the University Senate Rules and Regulations provides detailed information on regulations governing the grading of graduate coursework. Students should also consult the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog and the KU Policy Library for more information on the Grading Policy.

The following are of particular relevance for graduate students in the College:

Passing Grades for Graduate Coursework

Only courses graded C or above are considered passing and may be counted for graduate credit. Courses graded C-, D or F may not be used to fulfill degree requirements.

Incomplete (I) and Waiting Grades (WG)

Incomplete (I) grades are used to note, temporarily, that students have been unable to complete a portion of the required course work during that semester due to circumstances beyond their control. Incomplete work must be completed and assigned an A-F or S/U grade within the time period prescribed by the course instructor. After one calendar year from the original grade due date, an Incomplete (I) grade will automatically convert to a grade of F or U, or the lapsed grade assigned by the course instructor.

Waiting Grades (WG) are placeholders and should only be used in rare instances when, for reasons beyond his or her control, an instructor is not able to assign a course grade by the deadline.

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)

Graduate students may select the Credit/No Credit option only for those courses that do not fulfill a degree requirement. Degree requirements include those courses used to fulfill the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement. Students should consult with their advisor prior to electing the CR/NC option.

College-Specific Grading Policy

Plus/Minus (+/-) Grades

Plus/minus (+/–) grades may be used in the College. The plus or minus sign describes intermediate levels of performance between a maximum of A and a minimum of F. Intermediate grades are calculated as 0.3 units above or below the corresponding letter grade.

SP/LP/NP Grading Scale

Use of the Satisfactory (S) / Unsatisfactory (U) grading scale for thesis or dissertation hours and approved equivalents is prohibited in the College.  Departments may instead use either the traditional A-D/F scale or the SP/LP/NP grading scale.  SP/LP/NP is defined by the following:

  • Satisfactory Progress (SP): Progress is consistent with the goals for the semester as agreed upon with the advisor; supports timely completion of the degree.
  • Limited Progress (LP): Progress is less than what was agreed upon with the advisor; may cause delays in timely degree completion. Academic probation may be warranted.
  • No Progress (NP): The student has provided no evidence of progress on the thesis or dissertation work, or the work completed was insufficient to move the thesis or dissertation project forward.

A grade of SP must be assigned to the final thesis or dissertation hour(s) enrollment.

For departments who choose to use the traditional A-D/F scale for thesis or dissertation hours, or their approved equivalents, it is expected that student are provided, usually via their graduate student handbook or the departments pages in the academic catalog, with details about what constitutes a grade of A, B, C, D, or F in their department.

Participation (P) Grades

Use of the Participation (P) grade is restricted in the College. It is only approved for a limited number of courses for which special permission has been sought. When permission is granted, P is only used to indicate participation in thesis, dissertation, or research enrollments (related to thesis or dissertation), or in the first semester enrollment of a two-semester sequence course. In any semester, the instructor may elect to assign a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F when evidence about performance is available. A letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F) must be assigned in the last semester of enrollment to characterize the quality of the final product.

A-F or S/U grades are used in all other courses, including those that are repeated across semesters. The latter include courses in which students are collecting, assembling, or analyzing data; reviewing a research or scholarly literature; or creating portfolios. Students in these courses are expected to develop plans of study with their instructors and to contact these instructors throughout the semester to discuss their progress or changes in their plans. Instructors assign grades each semester based on the quantity and quality of the work students complete that semester. The grades that students receive in the last semester of these courses (e.g., for completing data analyses and literature reviews, exhibiting portfolios, defending theses or dissertations) apply only to that semester.

If a department or program has a course for which the P grading system may be more appropriate than the A-F or S/U grading system, it must seek special approval from the College.

Incompletes (I) and Waiting Grades (WG)

The College will not approve an application for graduation if a waiting grade (WG) or an incomplete (I) grade remains on the student’s transcript.