VCU course work is measured both in terms of quantity (semester hours of credit) and quality (grades). Grades are assigned according to a letter system. Each letter is assigned a grade-point value. The scale used is known as a four-point grading system since 4.0 is the highest grade point assigned. The number of grade points earned is computed by multiplying the grade-point value for the letter grade times the number of semester credits for the course. For example, a student who receives an A (four grade points) in a three-credit course earns 12 grade points.
|Grade letter||Meaning||Grade-point values per semester credit|
|FI||Incomplete changed to fail||0.0|
|NC||Administrative grade with no credit||(_)|
|NR/NG||Administrative grade assigned when no grade is submitted by the instructor||(_)|
|PP||Pass (conversion from grade of A-C)||(_)|
|PS||Pass (conversion from grade of D)||(_)|
|DN||D grade excluded from GPA||(_)|
|FN||F grade excluded from GPA||(_)|
Grades designated by a blank, (_), in the grade-point column are not considered in the computation of grade points earned or GPA.
Further explanation of grades/marks above
Grade of pass (P, PP or PS)
This grade is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements. The grade of PP results from the conversion of a letter grade of A-C; the grade of PS results from the conversion of a letter grade of D. The grade of P, PP or PS is not included in the calculation of the GPA. (See additional information on PP and PS grades in the pass/fail grade policy for undergraduate students below.)
Grade of progress (PR)
The mark of PR may be assigned only in courses approved for such grading. Unlike the mark of I, PR will not automatically be changed to a failing grade at the end of the succeeding semester. The grade of PR is not included in the calculation of the GPA.
Grades of satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U)
Receipt of the grade of S is formal notification to the student of satisfactory progress. Receipt of the grade of U is formal notification of unsatisfactory progress. A grade of U is a permanent grade and associated credits do not count toward a degree. Future satisfactory performance following a grade of U is reflected in the assignment of the grade of S in subsequent semesters. A grade of S or U is not included in the calculation of the GPA.
Mark of audit (AU)
Class size permitting, students may register for courses on an audit basis. Auditing a course means students enroll in a course but do not receive academic credit upon completion of the course. Students who register on an audit basis are subject to attendance regulations of that class and, unless otherwise specified, at the discretion of the instructor, are subject to the same course requirements as other students in the class.
Students who register on an audit basis may be administratively withdrawn by instructors for a violation of class requirements for audit students, before or after the normal withdrawal deadline as posted on the VCU Academic Calendar. Audit students are charged the regular rate of tuition and fees. An audit course is counted as part of the student’s semester load in terms of classification as a full-time student. Courses taken for audit, however, do not satisfy minimum enrollment requirements for students receiving graduate teaching or research assistantships, graduate fellowships or university graduate scholarships.
Students may register for audit only during add/drop and late registration periods as a new registration and not as a change from credit to audit. Changes in registration status from audit to credit or from credit to audit will not be approved after the last day of add/drop registration.
Courses assigned the AU mark will not be computed into the GPA and do not result in earned credit hours.
Mark of continued (CO)
The mark of CO may be assigned as an interim mark for those courses that run over more than one grade reporting period. The CO mark indicates the course is not expected to be completed in a single semester and that the student must re-register for the course in the following semester. Upon departmental notification, CO marks for courses not re-registered for in the following semester are converted to F grades. Upon completion of the course, a final grade is assigned for that semester and the previous CO mark(s) remain. This mark may be assigned only in courses approved for such grading. Courses assigned the CO mark will not be computed into the GPA and do not result in earned credit hours.
Mark of credit (CR)
Courses assigned the CR mark will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of honors (H)
Courses assigned the H mark will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of high pass (HP)
Courses assigned the HP grade will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of incomplete (I)
When circumstances beyond a student’s control prevent the student from meeting course requirements by the end of the semester, the student may request the instructor to assign the mark of I for that semester. The awarding of a mark of I requires an agreement between instructor and student as to when and how the course will be completed. Once the agreement is reached, the instructor fills out an incomplete grade assignment form bearing the student’s signature; the form is submitted instead of a final course grade. A grade cannot be changed to I after the deadline for grade submissions.
The maximum time limit for submission of all course work necessary for removal of an incomplete is the end of the last day of classes of the next semester following the semester in which the incomplete was incurred (i.e., an incomplete awarded in the fall semester must be converted by the last day of classes in the spring semester, and an incomplete awarded in the spring or summer session must be converted by the last day of classes in the fall semester). At that time, an un-removed grade of incomplete is changed automatically to a failing grade. Individual departments and schools may have more stringent time limits. An extension of the time limit is possible, but must be approved, prior to the expiration date stated above, by the instructor and the dean of the school through which the course is offered. For undergraduate and professional students, written approval indicating the new time limit must be filed with the dean of the school through which the course is offered. For graduate students, written approval indicating the new time limit must be filed with the dean of the Graduate School.
Courses assigned the I mark will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of incomplete military (IM)
See the “Military services crisis tuition relief, refund and reinstatement guidelines” in the Tuition, fees and expenses section of this bulletin. Courses assigned the IM mark will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of marginal (M)
Courses assigned the M mark will not be computed into the GPA.
Mark of withdrawn (W)
The mark of W indicates the student has officially withdrawn from the course or has been withdrawn for a violation of the course attendance policy or nonattendance. A student who has officially withdrawn from a course or who has been administratively withdrawn for nonattendance may not attend subsequent meetings of the course.
Students should refer to any school- or course-specific policies related to withdrawal dates. The last day to withdraw for the fall and spring semesters is as published in the VCU academic calendar, and is typically the end of the 10th week of classes. Summer session students should check the Summer Studies Calendar.
Courses assigned the W will not be computed into the GPA. For further information see the Withdrawal from the university entry in this section of this bulletin.
Mark of withdrawn military (WM)
Courses assigned the WM mark will not be computed into the GPA. See the “Military services crisis tuition relief, refund and reinstatement guidelines” in the Tuition, fees and expenses section of this bulletin.
Pass/fail grade policy for undergraduate students
The pass/fail grade policy allows undergraduate students to choose not to have a grade assigned in a limited number of courses for which they receive VCU credit. This available choice allows students to explore elective and general education courses outside their major without the pressure associated with maintaining a particular GPA. It also facilitates timely degree completion and may reduce the need to repeat a course in order to maintain academic standing. It is the goal of the pass/fail policy to support equitable and accessible academic experiences for its undergraduate students.
Undergraduate students may request that a course they are enrolled in be taken under the pass/fail grade option. Undergraduate students can apply no more than 15 credit hours of PP/PS grades taken under the pass/fail grade option over the entirety of their degree program. These restrictions do not apply to courses that are only offered as P/F.
Students may not use the pass/fail grade option:
- To satisfy a prerequisite that requires a minimum grade of B
- For courses that may count toward the requirements of the student’s major, minor or certificate program
Under the pass/fail grade option, students would have grades reported as either:
PP: Grade of pass (equivalent to letter grade of A, B or C) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grades of A-C. The grade of PP is not included in the calculation of GPA. The grade of PP will satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of C to advance to another course.
PS: Grade of pass (equivalent to letter grade of D) is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements equivalent to the letter grade of D. The grade of PS is not included in the calculation of GPA. The grade of PS will not satisfy course requirements of a minimum grade of C to advance to another course and students may have to retake the course if they change their major and a minimum letter grade of C was required.
F: Grade of fail (equivalent to letter grade of F) is considered not passing and is included in the calculation of the GPA.
Students should consult with an adviser to understand the implications of their decision. Departments require that all courses satisfying major requirements be completed with a traditional letter grade; and in these instances, students who change their majors may need to repeat a course for which they have previously earned a grade of PP or PS.
Instructors of record will not be aware of the student choice. Each faculty member will evaluate student performance in the course consistent with expectations outlined in the course syllabus. If a student has opted for the pass/fail grade option, the assigned grade will be converted to the appropriate pass/fail designation pursuant to the letter grade earned. For example, the instructor would enter a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) as usual. If the student has chosen the Pass/Fail grade option, then grades A, B or C become a PP; a grade of D becomes a PS; and a grade of F becomes a F.
Students may select the pass/fail grade option for eligible courses no later than the last day to withdraw from a course. All decisions by students are final and irrevocable.
Students have a right to appeal course grades they consider to have been arbitrarily or capriciously assigned or assigned without regard for the criteria, requirements and procedures of the course stated in the syllabus or guidelines for assignments. Students who want to appeal the course grade should follow the guidelines provided under the Grade Review Procedures.
Students may not appeal their decision to choose the pass/fail grade option. If students desire to appeal any other matter related to pass/fail outside the grade assigned, students should follow the guidelines provided under Academic Regulations Appeals Committee.
The GPA is computed by dividing the number of grade points earned at VCU by the number of credit hours attempted at VCU. The grades of accepted transfer courses are not included in the computation of the VCU GPA. However, transfer grades are included in the computation of laudatory graduation honors for undergraduate students.
VCU has three program levels: undergraduate, graduate and professional. Each program level has a cumulative GPA. For students who enroll in multiple programs at the same degree level, the GPA for the multiple programs will be merged. For example, a student who graduates from an undergraduate program at VCU and pursues a second undergraduate program at VCU will have one continuous GPA.
Reading the transcript
The E notation, when following a letter grade, means that the course has been repeated and the grade and earned hours are excluded from the GPA.
The A notation, when following a letter grade, means that course is duplicate credit and the grade and hours are included in the GPA, but the hours have been removed from earned hours total.
The I notation, when following a letter grade, means that the grade and earned hours are included in the GPA.
Letter grades preceded by an X are not computed in the GPA.
Grades of D or F may be assigned by the Honor Council and the grade is computed in the GPA. However, a grade of W may be assigned by the Honor Council and is not computed in the GPA. In both cases a notation will be made on the academic transcript detailing the Honor Council assignment.
Change of grade
A final grade may be corrected by the faculty member with proper submission of the change of grade form (for undergraduates) or special action form (for graduate students) to the chair of the department in which the course was taught. Once the chair approves the request, it goes to the school’s dean for review, and upon approval, then goes to the Office of Records and Registration or Graduate School, as appropriate. A change of grade that affects the student’s academic eligibility to enroll must be made prior to the end of the add/drop period in the semester or summer session in which the student plans to continue attendance. Any change of grade must be completed prior to graduation.
Evaluation and final grade reports
University policy requires faculty to provide students with feedback about their academic performance before the semester or class withdrawal date. Although such feedback does not always take the form of a letter grade, grades do provide a clear indication of class progress. Students are encouraged to discuss their progress in courses with their instructors, especially before the withdrawal deadline.
Students who do not attend class are responsible for dropping or withdrawing from class during the established dates. Exceptions to this policy are made only in rare instances. Requests for an exception should begin with a discussion with the academic adviser and must be filed with the appropriate body within three years of the semester of enrollment..
Additional information about appealing grades can be found on the Grade review procedures page.