AP.3 Grading

University coursework is measured in terms of quantity and quality. A credit normally represents one hour per week of lecture or recitation or not fewer than two hours per week of laboratory work throughout a semester. The number of credit hours is a measure of quantity, while the grade is a measure of quality. Faculty of record must assign a grade to all enrolled students at the end of the semester, term or part of term.

AP.3.1 Undergraduate Grading

The university-wide system for undergraduate grading is as follows:

Grade Quality Points Undergraduate Courses
A+ 4.00 Passing
A 4.00 Passing
A- 3.67 Passing
B+ 3.33 Passing
B 3.00 Passing
B- 2.67 Passing
C+ 2.33 Passing
C 2.00 Passing
C- 1.67 Passing
D 1.00 Passing
F 0.00 Failing

No credit toward graduation accrues from a failing grade or a grade that is replaced by a retaken course. 

AP.3.2 Graduate Grading

The university-wide system for grading graduate courses is as follows:

Grade Quality Points Graduate Courses
A+ 4.00 Satisfactory/Passing
A 4.00 Satisfactory/Passing
A- 3.67 Satisfactory/Passing
B+ 3.33 Satisfactory/Passing
B 3.00 Satisfactory/Passing
B- 2.67 Satisfactory1/Passing
C 2.00 Unsatisfactory/Passing
F 0.00 Unsatisfactory/Failing

Although a B- is a satisfactory grade for a course, students must maintain a 3.00 average in their degree program and present a 3.00 GPA on the courses listed on the graduation application.

AP.3.3 Additional Grade Notations

Satisfactory/No Credit (S/NC)

An S grade reflects satisfactory work (C or better for undergraduate students, B- or better for graduate students); otherwise, the student receives no credit (NC). S and NC have no effect on the student’s GPA. Entire courses normally graded S/NC are annotated in the catalog, and include doctoral dissertation courses 998 and 999. Students may also individually elect to take credit without grade, with restriction. For more information, see AP.1.4.6 Enrolling for Credit Without Grade Points (Satisfactory/No Credit) .

Incomplete (IN)

This grade may be given to students who are passing a course but who may be unable to complete scheduled coursework for a cause beyond reasonable control. Unless the faculty member has specified an earlier deadline, the student must then complete all the requirements by the end of the ninth week of the next semester, not including summer term, and the instructor must turn in the final grade by the end of the 10th week.  Faculty members who choose to require an earlier incomplete deadline will be required to file an Incomplete Grade Contract with the local academic unit’s office, detailing the work that remains to be done, the general reason for the incomplete, and the student’s grade at the point of receiving the incomplete. Unless an explicit written extension is filed with the Office of the University Registrar by the faculty deadline, the grade of IN is changed by the University Registrar’s office to an F. The maximum IN extension is to the end of the same semester in which it was originally due. Students who have filed their intent to graduate have only six weeks from the date of degree conferral to resolve any incomplete grades and have the final grades recorded by the University Registrar’s office.  

While a grade of IN remains on the transcript, it is treated as an unsatisfactory grade in determining probation, suspension, termination, or dismissal. Removal of INs from the transcript may result in retroactive elimination of probation, suspension, termination, or dismissal.

Incomplete, extended (IX)

IX is given by the Office of the University Registrar after receiving an Incomplete Extension form signed by the instructor and the appropriate dean. The extension gives students additional time to complete work; the amount of time is specified by the instructor. The final grade must be submitted to the University Registrar’s office before final exams for the semester in which the IN grade was originally due. A grade of IX affects the academic record in the same way as does a grade of IN.

In Progress (IP)

This grade may be given in selected courses, including graduate theses, dissertations, practicums, and internships. IP may also be used when the work of BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core), CS 112 Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core), CS 211 Object-Oriented Programming, ECON 495 RS: Honors Thesis in Economics, or if a course that is graded S/NC or A/B/C/NC is not completed within one semester. IP has no effect on the GPA. With the exception of the formerly-mentioned courses, IP remains on the record until the work is completed and a final grade is assigned. An IP in BIS 490 RS: Senior Project (Mason Core), CS 112 Introduction to Computer Programming (Mason Core), CS 211 Object-Oriented Programming, or ECON 495 RS: Honors Thesis in Economics not changed to a final grade by the last day of classes of the next semester, not including summer term, is changed by the Office of the University Registrar to an F. IP grades will also be awarded in courses numbered 799, 998 and 999 until successful completion, and then they will be changed to S/NC. Upon successful completion of 799, 998 or 999 and submission of the final grade, grades for all prior sections will be changed to S/NC.

Absent with permission (AB)

A student who has received permission from the academic dean or director to be absent from a final exam for cause beyond reasonable control may receive a temporary grade of AB. A rescheduled exam must be administered within 10 business days of the original exam date, or the AB will automatically become an F. Final determination of academic status is not complete while the AB remains on the transcript.

Special Provision (SP)

The grade of SP may be given by a dean to students who are unable to complete the course requirements because of extraordinary long-term circumstances, such as major illness or military deployment. SP has no effect on the GPA and remains on the transcript until the work is completed and a final grade is assigned.

AP.3.4 Midterm Reports

Midterm progress is reported for all full-semester 100- and 200-level classes, and for 300- and 400-level classes at the discretion of the professor. The reporting period extends from the fifth through the eighth week of the semester, allowing flexibility to individual faculty in providing reports for their classes. Students should check with their instructors as to when reports will be complete and available for viewing through Patriot Web. These progress reports, which appear in Patriot Web as "Midterm Grades," do not become part of the student's official record. They are not calculated in any GPA, and they do not appear on any official or unofficial transcript.

AP.3.5 Final Grades

Semester grade reports are available through Patriot Web. Students may print a grade report for their own records or to issue to a third party.

AP.3.6 Transcripts

Official transcripts include all credit coursework attempted at the university, including all courses taken as a graduate, undergraduate or non-degree student. Official transcripts will not be issued when unsatisfied financial obligations to the university exist. Unofficial transcripts may be printed by the student from Patriot Web. See the Office of the University Registrar for information and instructions on ordering official transcripts. 

The Antonin Scalia Law School issues transcripts for courses taken as a law student.  See Law School for information and instructions on ordering transcripts.

AP.3.6.1 Transcript Key

The transcript key, which appears on the reverse side of official transcript paper, summarizes policy information pertinent to understanding individual students' transcripts and may be updated as necessary.

AP.3.7 GPA

Quality point values are assigned to letter grades as indicated in the grading system table. A quality point score is computed by multiplying the value of a letter grade by the number of credits for the course. For example, a student receiving an A (4.00) in a 3-credit course earns 12 quality points. The GPA is computed by dividing the quality points earned by the number of credits graded A+ through F (GPA hours).

For undergraduates, the GPA computed for the current term gives the current GPA, which is the measure of academic performance in one semester and affects eligibility for the dean's list. The GPA computed for all institutional credit gives the cumulative GPA, which is the basis for the university's retention policies, including good standing, warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal. Cumulative GPA also determines students' eligibility to graduate and have university honors posted to their record at graduation.

Current GPA and cumulative GPA do not apply to graduate students. A notation of academic warning is entered on the transcript of a graduate student who receives a grade of C, or a grade of F in a graduate course or while a grade of IN or IX is in effect. A degree GPA is computed for graduate students based on graded courses completed at the university and applied toward the degree. For more information, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

AP.3.8 Change of Grade

The conditions and time limits for changes from the temporary grades IN, IP, AB, and SP to final grades appear in Additional Grade Notations.

Once a final grade has been recorded by the Office of the University Registrar, it can be changed only in cases of computational or recording error, or pursuant to a successful appeal of the grade as described below. Additional work of any type submitted to improve a grade after the final grade has been assigned and sent to the Office of the University Registrar is never accepted.

All changes of final grades must be initiated, approved, and recorded by the last day of classes of the next regular semester (spring for fall grades, and fall for spring and summer term grades).

AP.3.9 Grade Appeals

Although faculty members are generally the best judges of student performance, there may be times when a student believes a grade is unfair. In such cases, the student should ask the faculty member to reconsider the grade. If the student is not satisfied, an appeal may be made to the local academic administrator of the unit offering the course. The administrator should ask the student to return to the faculty member who assigned the grade for further consultation.

If the faculty member is no longer associated with the university, the administrator will appoint a faculty surrogate, who will assume the authority of the instructor of record.

If a mutually satisfactory agreement is not reached, the student may request that the administrator form a review committee of three faculty peers of the faculty member who assigned the grade. If the administrator believes the student's appeal does not have merit, this reservation is reported to the collegiate dean. If the dean concludes the student's appeal does not have merit, no review is conducted.

The faculty member or the student may challenge and have replaced one of the three members of the committee without giving a reason for the challenge. The committee meets separately with the faculty member and the student to explore the full particulars of the case. A nonparticipating observer of the student's choice may attend the meeting. Every effort is made to avoid an adversarial relationship.

After the committee has reviewed the case thoroughly, it issues to the administrator (with a copy to the faculty member) a written recommendation that includes the reasons for its findings. At this time, the faculty member has an opportunity to take the recommended action, if any. If the matter is not resolved at this point, the administrator considers the committee recommendation and makes a recommendation to the dean. If the dean decides that the recommendation to change the grade is appropriate and the faculty member refuses to make the change, then the dean may direct the Office of the University Registrar to do so. The decision of the dean is not subject to further appeal.

Grade appeals are not accepted after the last day of classes of the following semester (spring for fall grades, fall for spring and summer grades).

The Provost's Office does not consider grade appeals, nor does the University Academic Appeals Committee.

AP.3.9.1 Pending Grade Appeal for Students in Academic Difficulty

A student may request a delay from the dean in imposing academic suspension because of a pending grade appeal that could change the student's status. An approved delay allows the student to register.

If the grade appeal is successful, the official transcript is corrected and the student continues in classes as a student in good academic standing, on probation or on warning. If the grade appeal is not successful, the student is required to stop attending all classes immediately. No record of registration for the academic period appears on a transcript and the student receives the appropriate refund as of the decision date.

AP.3.10 Final Exams

Undergraduate courses usually culminate with a final exam. Except in predominantly laboratory courses, final exams may not be given during the last week of classes. Exams may not exceed the scheduled length of two hours, 45 minutes. Changes in location or time of in-class final exams must be approved by the appropriate department chair and dean. A professor who is considering assigning a take-home exam or significant end-of-semester paper or project should inform the students at the beginning of the semester. Such assignments should be distributed by the beginning of the last week of classes so that students can coordinate them with preparation for other exams. Students must not be required to submit exams before the date of the regularly scheduled exam for a course. Retaking final exams is not permitted. Students who have more than two examinations scheduled on the same day should consult their instructors to make other arrangements. If campus-wide disruptions to class meeting schedules occur during the semester (e.g., due to severe weather), a revised final exam schedule may be issued. In this event, students and faculty are expected to adhere to the revised schedule. The examination period may be prolonged and individual exams may be shifted to the last day of the revised exam period.

Students with permission to take deferred examinations may receive a temporary grade of AB (absent with permission). Rescheduled exams must be completed within the time deadline set by the university. See below for more information.

AP.3.10.1 Absences from Final Exams

Absences from final exams will not be excused by the instructor except for sickness on the day of the exam. Other causes must be approved by the student's academic dean or director. The effect of an unexcused absence from an undergraduate final exam shall be determined by the weighted value of the exam as stated in the course syllabus provided by the instructor. If absence from a graduate final exam is unexcused, the grade for the course is entered as F. See AP.3.3 Additional Grade Notations for information on being absent with permission.