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:
|Honor Points Per Credit|
|P||Pass (D or better) - undergraduate||*|
|S||Satisfactory (C or better) - graduate||*|
|Honor Points Per Credit|
|U||Unsatisfactory - 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.
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 repeating it at NDSU, or via Tri-College, and completing the course satisfactorily. Review the Repeated Courses policy for full details.
Pass-fail grading is available for undergraduate courses; 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:
- 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. (Waived during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 and fall 2020.)
- 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. Review the online dates and deadline schedule for specific information regarding variable length and summer course deadlines.
- Once a pass/fail request has been submitted and processes, it may not be changed back to a regular letter grade.
- 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.
- If a course is taken for a regular grade, it cannot be repeated on a pass/fail basis.
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 updates shall be made available to students upon request. Mid-term grades are not considered official grades and do not appear on student academic transcripts.
Grades for all students in all degree-eligible courses are entered by the grade loading deadline each term to allow important end-of-term academic and financial processes to run, and to ensure timely notifications may be sent to students. Final grades entered into Campus Connection by instructors are posted to student records approximately 2-3 business days after the close of final examination week.
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 the 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.
If resolution is not reached through a standard grade change inquiry and within the time frame outlined in the Grade Changes section, 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 academic department and 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.
Grades of Incomplete
Under extraordinary circumstances and at the discretion of the instructor, a student may be assigned a grade of Incomplete (I). The following policies apply to Incomplete grades:
- The grade of Incomplete is assigned to indicate that satisfactory work has been completed up to within five weeks of the semester end, and that circumstances beyond the student's control prevented completion of the work. The time period is proportional for variable length courses and summer session.
- The grade of Incomplete is not to be given in any instance where the student has a deficiency of more than five weeks (or equivalent) of work including final exam week.
- Grades of Incomplete are initiated by student request. The student must contact the instructor, request an Incomplete grade, and, upon instructor approval, make arrangements to complete the work.
- The grade of Incomplete (I) is an administrative grade that may only be entered by the Office of Registration and Records, except in courses designated as practicum, internship, individual study, field experience, or study abroad.
- FORM and DEADLNE: An Incomplete Grade Reporting Form detailing the work to be completed, expected completion date (see #6), and grading standard is to be completed by the course instructor. This is an electronic form submitted to the Office of Registration and Records by the grade submission deadline for the semester in which the course was taken.
- Grades of Incomplete, including those for most course types identified in #4, must be removed no later than the end of the seventh week of the next full semester (fall or spring) or by the completion date set by instructor if other than the standard seventh week. The time period is proportional for variable length courses and summer session.
- Grades of Incomplete are removed when the student has completed all course requirements and the instructor of the course files a Grade Reporting Form.
- All grades of Incomplete that are not removed within the specified time are automatically changed to 'F' grades by the Office of Registration and Records.
- Instructors may specify completion deadlines for remaining work on the Incomplete Grade Reporting Form earlier than the standard deadlines.
- Requests for extensions beyond the expected completion date require approval by both the instructor and the chair of the department offering the course. The extended deadline must be indicated on the Incomplete Grade Reporting Form and may not exceed two Incomplete conversion/deadline cycles. If a grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the Incomplete grade will convert to a grade of 'F'. Contact Registration and Records for date extension.
- Grades of Incomplete, which convert to grades of 'F', earned in the last semester of attendance by a student who leaves the university for two or more years may be changed to Withdrawn ('W') upon re-enrollment. Requests for this privilege must be filed with the Office of Registration and Records during the first term of re-entry.
- An Incomplete grade may be converted to a letter grade (or P/F, S/U) according to the above guidelines, but may not be expunged from the record.
- Students may not register in courses in which they currently hold grades of Incomplete, except for courses that are repeatable for credit.
- Students are not allowed to graduate with Incomplete grades on their academic records. Upon graduation, unconverted Incomplete grades will convert to grades of 'F'. If a course in which an Incomplete grade was assigned is required for graduation, the instructor may extend the deadline according to the above procedures and timelines, and graduation will be postponed.
- Students who receive grades of Incomplete or converted grades of F may appeal disputed grades in accordance with NDSU Policy, Section 337: Grade Appeals Board.