Grades and Grading

Grades and Honor Points

NDSU has three grading periods per academic year: fall semester, spring semester, and summer session. The quality of student work and achievement of learning outcomes is indicated by a letter grade. In computing scholastic averages, each letter grade is assigned a specific number of honor points for each credit earned. Student work is reported in terms of grade-point average for the term and institutional grade-point average for the composite of work at NDSU. Calculations are based on the following:

Grade Descriptions

Passing Grades

    Honor Points Per Credit
PPass (D or better) - undergraduate*
SSatisfactory (C or better) - graduate*

Non-passing Grades

    Honor Points Per Credit
UUnsatisfactory - graduate*

Not calculated in grade-point average, but may be calculated in attempted credits for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) used for financial aid eligibility.

Grade Point Average (GPA) Calculation

Semester (or term) GPA refers to the grade-point average for any given grading period. Cumulative or institutional GPA refers to the composite grade-point average for all courses and grading periods completed at NDSU.

Institutional cumulative grade-point average is calculated by dividing the total number of honor points earned at NDSU by the total number of credit hours in which honor points were recorded, including grades of 'F'. NDSU GPA calculations do not include developmental coursework, which does not count toward the graduation requirements. Coursework/grades accepted in transfer by NDSU are not included in the institutional cumulative GPA, and are not used in calculations for determining academic standing with the University. Refer also to Pass/Fail Grading and Repeated Courses.

Pass-Fail Grading

Pass-fail grading is available in any given course; however, the pass/fail option may not be used for courses taken to meet general education requirements, unless the course is only offered pass/fail. Students are advised to check degree-program restrictions regarding acceptance of pass/fail credits. Pass/Fail Option Request forms may be acquired online. Forms must be signed by the student's adviser. Pass/fail policies include the following:

  1. Students are limited to a total of 16 credits under the pass/fail grading option. Courses that are offered only for pass/fail grading for all students who enroll are not included in the 16-credit limitation.
  2. Approval for the pass/fail option must be filed in the Office of Registration and Records by the published pass/fail deadline of the semester. Variable length and summer courses have prorated deadlines according to actual course length.  Contact the Office of Registration and Records for specific information regarding variable length and summer course deadlines.
  3. Once a pass/fail request has been approved and filed, it may not be changed back to a regular grade.
  4. A grade of 'P' is without honor points and is not included in the grade-point computation; however, a grade of 'F' is included in the grade-point computation.
  5. If a course is taken for a regular grade, it cannot be repeated on a pass/fail basis.

Course Failures

A failing (F) grade may not be removed by special examination or transfer credit. When a failing grade has been assigned, credit for that course may be earned only by re-enrolling in it at NDSU, or via Tri-College, and completing the course satisfactorily. As with all repeated courses, the original grade will remain on the academic record, but only the latest attempt will be computed in grade-point average calculations (see Repeated Courses).

Mid-Term Grading

As an early intervention effort to improve retention and academic progress of students, faculty are encouraged to enter deficient mid-term grades of D and F, at minimum, in undergraduate courses. Notifications are sent to students with reported deficient mid-term grades and to academic departments/advisers. For all courses, mid-term progress reports shall be made available to students upon request. Mid-term grades are not considered official grades and do not appear on student academic transcripts. Adviser holds may be placed on students who have one or more reported deficient mid-term grades.

Final Grades

Grades for all students in all degree-eligible courses are entered by the grade loading deadline each term so that important end-of-term academic and financial processes may run, and ensure timely notifications may be sent to students. Final grades entered into Campus Connection by instructors are posted to student records approximately three business days after the close of final examination week.

Grade Changes

With the exception of Incomplete grades, a course grade issued by an instructor and recorded on an academic record is considered final. For the student who has reason to believe the grade issued is incorrect, the student must initiate a request for a change of a grade with the instructor within fifteen (15) instructional days of the first day of the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was assigned. For Spring Semester courses, the request may be made within fifteen (15) instructional days of the start of Fall Semester, if the student is not enrolled for a summer term. If deemed appropriate, the instructor may submit a change of grade to the Office of Registration and Records via a Grade Reporting Form. Grade changes may only be considered for students who have not yet earned a degree.

Grade Appeals

If resolution is not reached through a standard grade change inquiry, a student may pursue a grade appeal. The Grade Change Appeals Board may be utilized only after the student has exhausted possible appeal routes within the college offering the course. A grade appeal is deemed formally initiated when the student presents the Grade Appeal Form to the instructor. If there is an unsatisfactory decision, the student must consult the department head/chair, and the dean or a designated college committee, proceeding from one level to the next only after an unsatisfactory decision of the conflict at that level. In the event that the instructor is also the department head or dean, he or she need only be consulted in the capacity of instructor. In the event of an unsatisfactory decision within the college, the student may submit the formal written appeal to the Grade Appeals Board Chair. Such an appeal shall be made within fifteen (15) instructional days after conclusion of the college proceedings as stated above.

The full Grade Appeals policy (section 337), which includes hearing procedures, is available on the NDSU Policy web site. Grade appeals only may be considered for students who have not yet earned a degree. If a student is in their final semester of enrollment pending a degree completion, the student has fifteen (15) instructional days to initiate a grade request.