VCU Bulletins

Graduate School

Grades

Grade reports

Unofficial academic histories are available online through eServices, or official transcripts may be obtained for a fee from the Office of Records and Registration.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students to:

  1. Check their records no later than the end of the add/drop registration period at the beginning of each semester to ensure that their registrations are correct and
  2. Check their records at the end of each semester to ensure that their academic histories are current and correct.

Students who wish to appeal assigned grades must follow the Grade Review Procedure as articulated below in this Bulletin (catalog) and as published in VCU Rules and Procedures.

Requests for any other changes to an academic history must be submitted in writing by students to their graduate program directors no later than 14 calendar days after the beginning of the following semester (for the fall semester, 14 calendar days after the beginning of the spring semester; for the spring or summer semester, 14 calendar days after the beginning of the fall semester).

Graduate students, program directors and academic school deans/designees are required to conduct a final review of all academic histories as part of the application-to-graduate check-out process as articulated in this Bulletin (catalog) and on the Graduate School website. A student’s signature on the application to graduate is acknowledgement that the student has reviewed the academic history and that it is correct. Final approval signatures by graduate program directors and academic school deans/designees on the final application to graduate confirm that the student’s academic history is complete, correct and final and that no future requests for changes to the academic history will be considered once the student has been approved to graduate.

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Transcripts

Official transcripts of students’ academic records will be issued only by the Office of Records and Registration upon written request of the students.

Repeated courses

Graduate students receiving grades below B shall repeat a course only upon the advice of their program directors. Both the original grade and the repeat grade shall be included in the calculation of the graduate GPA.

For undergraduate students repeating 500-level graduate courses, the undergraduate historical repeat policy applies only if the course is applied toward the undergraduate degree. A historical repeat may not be processed for 600-level courses. (See policy on undergraduate students in graduate classes.)

Revised 5/14/2013
University Graduate Council

Grade review procedure

If a student thinks that a grade is inaccurate, the situation should be discussed with the faculty member. This will allow the faculty member to explain how the final grade was determined and, if an error is detected, to submit a change of grade.

If the student still thinks that the grade was assigned unfairly, a written appeal should be submitted to the department chair. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the department chair shall provide the student with a copy and explanation of the Grade Review Procedure (published in the VCU Insider, available at www.students.vcu.edu), and shall ensure that the requirements of the Grade Review Procedure are followed.

If the department chair is unable to resolve the complaint, then the dean of the school in which the course was offered will form a grade review committee as described in the Grade Review Procedure policy and will submit its decision to the dean of the school. The decision communicated by the dean of the school in which the program resides is the final decision that will be distributed to the student, faculty member(s) and department chair.

In cases concerning grades awarded for the fall semester, the written appeal must be submitted to the department chair no later than 14 calendar days after the beginning of the following spring semester. In cases concerning grades awarded for the spring semester or summer sessions, the written appeal must be submitted no later than 14 calendar days after the beginning of the following fall semester.

Grading system

Work quality is measured by the four-point grade system with the following equivalents:

Grade symbol
and meaning

Grade-point value
per semester credit
A
4.0
B
3.0
C
2.0
D
1.0
F
0.0
P/F (Pass/Fail)
0.0
PR (Progress)
0.0

S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory)

0.0
W (Withdrawal)
0.0

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Specifically, students may not present courses receiving less than C for fulfilling degree requirements.

Refer to the grading explanations below for the use of the grades of “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” in relation to thesis/dissertation classes.

The number of grade points earned is computed by multiplying the grade-point value for the letter grade by the number of semester credits for the course. As an example, a student receiving an A (i.e., four grade points) in a three-credit course receives 12 grade points.

The grades of accepted transfer courses are not included in the computation of the VCU GPA.

Graduate-level credit is not granted for any type of military service or career or life experience unless it involves course work taken as part of an approved graduate program at a regionally accredited college or university.

Graduate students are not designated as special honors graduates (i.e., cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) on transcripts or diplomas upon completion of their programs.

No degree credit for remedial work shall be awarded to graduate students. Graduate students advised to take any level course for remedial work should be notified in writing that the course credit shall not apply to the degrees they are pursuing. Other bodies may rule later, should students wish to apply the credit to some other degree.

Grade of audit (AU)
Class size permitting, students may register for courses on an audit basis. Auditing a course means students enroll in courses, but do not receive academic credit upon completion of the courses. 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 students’ semester load in terms of classification as full-time students. 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. The grade of AU is not included in the calculation of the GPA.

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Grade of continued (CO)
The grade of CO may be assigned as an interim grade for those courses that run over several grade reporting periods. The CO indicates that the course is not expected to be completed in a single semester and that students must reregister for the course. Upon completion of the course, a final grade will be assigned to the current semester, and the previous CO grade(s) will remain. This grade may be assigned only in courses approved for such grading. The grade of CO is not included in the calculation of the GPA.

Grade of incomplete (I)
If, because of circumstances beyond his or her control, a student is unable to meet all the requirements of a course by the end of a semester, the mark of incomplete (I) may be given. The awarding of a mark of I requires an understanding between instructor and student as to when and how the course will be completed. This understanding must be recorded on an Incomplete Grade Assignment Form that is submitted instead of a final course grade. 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 unremoved 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. Written approval indicating the new time limit must be filed with the dean of the Graduate School. The temporary grade of I is not included in the calculation of the GPA.

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Grade of pass (P)
This grade is awarded for certain courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements. The grade of P is not included in the calculation of the GPA.

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), unsatisfactory (U) or fail (F) in thesis and dissertation courses
All thesis and dissertation credits are to be graded each semester as satisfactory (S), unsatisfactory (U) or fail (F). There is no limit to the number of these credits a student may take while pursuing completion of the degree. Receipt of the grade of U is formal notification to the student of unsatisfactory progress. A student who receives a final grade of F in the thesis or dissertation will be terminated from the graduate program. A grade of S or U is not included in the calculation of the GPA. A grade of incomplete (I) may not be assigned for a course approved for satisfactory, unsatisfactory or fail grading. A grade of U is a permanent grade. Future satisfactory performance is reflected in the assignment of the grade of S in subsequent semesters.

Grade of withdrawal (W)
The grade of W indicates that the student has officially withdrawn from a course or has been administratively withdrawn for nonattendance. No student who has officially withdrawn from a course or who has been administratively withdrawn for nonattendance may attend subsequent meetings of the course. Students may reregister for courses from which they have withdrawn through the normal registration process. A grade of W is not included in the calculation of the GPA. The number of hours recorded for courses from which a student withdraws is not included in the calculation of the “20%C or below” statistic. Withdrawals are, however, included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation conducted by the Financial Aid Office.

Revised 5/8/2012
University Graduate Council

Note: Difference between drop and withdrawal
A student may drop a class during the add/drop registration period only. When a class is dropped, the registration and associated tuition/fee charges are cancelled. Drop charges are removed to indicate that the student never attended the class or never attended the class beyond the add/drop registration period.

A student may withdraw from a class up to the withdrawal deadline as published in the University academic calendar at www.vcu.edu/academiccalendars. Withdrawal from a course does not cancel the registration or the associated tuition/fee charges, and results in the assignment of the grade of W. Refunds, if applicable, are issued in accordance with procedures described in the refunds section of the “Tuition, fees and expenses” section of this bulletin.

In both situations, any financial aid already disbursed to the student’s account based on the original course registration will be assessed and adjusted according to the University Refund Policy and may result in a balance due to the university.

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

 

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Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
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Last update: 8/21/2013

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