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Grading Policies

Graduate Grading Policies

Grading System
             - Spring 2020 Grading Scheme
Grade Exclusion
Grades for Projects, Theses/Dissertations and Seminars
Course Listing on the Graduate Transcript  
Audited Courses 
Grade Appeal Process

Grading-System Grading System

The grading system uses grades:

A+(4.0), A(4.0), A-(3.7) 
B+(3.3), B(3.0), B-(2.7) 
C+(2.3), C(2.0)
FX (0.0) Failed due to Academic Misconduct (May not be replaced or deleted)

The following special grades are also used:
INC (Incomplete), 
S (Satisfactory, B or better), 
U (Unsatisfactory) for projects, theses/dissertations, and seminars only
AU (Audit) 
W (Withdrawal from a course or from the University) 
X (Withdrawal because of illness or personal emergency) 
Y (University withdrawal for non-academic reasons)
Q (Never attended but did not withdraw. This grade requires a letter from the instructor to the University Registrar statng the student never attended the class.)
PR (In Progress for theses or dissertations) 
NC (No Credit for theses or dissertations where no progress has been made). 

A student registering for research will do so  each semester up to the total number recommended.  No graduate degree will be awarded to a student whose cumulative average for course work in his or her program is below 3.0.  Some programs may require a higher grade point average for graduation. The cumulative grade point average is computed from all graduate level courses taken for a grade at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 


Faculty Senate passed a spring 2020 grading scheme on March 25, 2020:

For Spring 2020, any grade of F will be converted to NC and not factored into the student’s GPA. Students may submit requests to change their grading scheme to Pass-No Credit option from the last day of classes, May 1, 2020 through May 15, 2020. Requests for change of grading scheme may only be made by the student. A new form will be created for this purpose, and will be made available by the start of the advising period. Pass-No Credit courses earn credits when the grade of P is assigned, but these credits are not qualitatively weighted and hence do not affect a student’s academic average. Requests for changes of grading scheme will be approved by the dean’s office of the student’s home college, regardless of which college offers the course in question. 

Students may present a grade of P in a prerequisite course taken in Spring 2020 to satisfy the enrollment requirement for a postrequisite course that normally requires a specific minimum letter grade in the prerequisite with departmental approval.

Where a program’s professional accreditation requires students to be evaluated with a letter grade, no requests for P/NC grading schemes will be granted.

A course with a Pass/No Credit election cannot be applied to the University’s Bachelors to Masters Program. 

There are no changes to the current transfer credit policy, and letter grades are required for transfer consideration.

Changes of grading scheme are final.

Letter Grades Are Factored Into Your GPAGrade PointsEarned Credits*P/NC Grades Are Not Factored Into Your GPAGrade PointsEarned Credits
A4.03converts to:P0.003
A-3.73converts to:P0.003
B+3.303converts to:P0.003
B3.003converts to:P0.003
B-2.703converts to:P0.003
C+2.303converts to:P0.003
C2.003converts to:P0.003
F0.000converts to:NC0.000
FX - Failed may not be replaced0.000does not convertFX0.000

*Based on a typical 3-credit course. 

Grade EXCLUSIONExclusion

A request may be submitted to omit a specific course (grade and credits) from the GPA for matriculated students. Such a request must be presented on an Academic Petition, provide detailed justification for the specific action, and certify that the action has been approved by a majority of the departmental graduate committee. Only one grade exclusion in total, including a grade for a repeated course, will be permitted for each degree sought by the student as recommended by the departmental graduate committee.  However, the official transcript will list grades for all undergraduate and graduate courses taken at the University with the notation that the grade and credits are excluded from the GPA.  Once a grade exclusion has been processed it may not be reversed. Additionally, grade substitutions are not permitted. 

Projects Grades for Projects, Theses/Dissertations and Seminars 

Spring 2020 Grading Scheme
- Students may
NOTelect Pass/NC for thesis and dissertations.
- Students may elect Pass/NC for projects and seminars graded S or U.
  • Projects (Enrollment Restricted to Matriculated Graduate Students): 
  • Only one of three grade designations will be allowed for projects:
    S for projects completed at a satisfactory level
    U for unsatisfactory completion of a project (no credit toward degree requirements) 
    INC Incomplete
  • Theses/Dissertations (Enrollment Restricted to Matriculated Graduate Students):
    PR will be given for thesis/dissertation research if the student has made satisfactory progress during the semester.
    NC will be given if the student has made no progress during the semester on thesis/dissertation research.
    U Unsatisfactory (no credit toward degree requirements)

After successful defense of the thesis/dissertation, a grade of "S" (Satisfactory) will be given for all semesters of the thesis/dissertation research.  Only the Registrar's Office can issue this grade.

  • Seminars
    S - Satisfactory
    U - Unsatisfactory (no credit toward degree requirements)
    INC - Incomplete

Under no circumstances will letter grades (A, B+, etc.) be allowed for projects, theses/dissertations, or seminars.

Incompletes Incompletes  

If, because of unusual circumstances, a student is unable to meet all the requirements of the course by the end of a semester, the grade of Incomplete (INC) may be given. Responsibility for making arrangements with an instructor to complete all outstanding coursework rests entirely with the student, who must complete all outstanding coursework by the date listed on the Graduate Academic Calendar ( Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to graduate with incomplete(s) on his or her transcript.

Prior to completion of the missing work, the incomplete will not be computed into the grade point average (GPA). If the student completes the missing work within the specified period, the instructor must evaluate the work and turn in a grade change form to the Registrar's Office before the deadline for instructors to submit final grades for incomplete courses as specified on the Graduate Academic Calendar ( . However, if the student does not complete the missing work by the specified date and no grade change form is submitted by the instructor, the student's grade will automatically change to a grade of "F" and be computed into the GPA.

Graduate-Transcript Course Listing on the Graduate Transcript 

All graduate courses for which a student registers (including repeated courses) are listed on the transcript and are used to calculate the student's grade point average whether or not they are taken to fulfill degree requirements. In addition, undergraduate courses which a student takes to fulfill prerequisite requirements before or during matriculation in a graduate program, or courses taken for personal enrichment, will also be listed on the transcript.

Audited-Courses Audited Courses

A graduate student may, upon approval of the advisor and the instructor, register for a course on an audit basis, but must pay the full amount of tuition and fees. An audit student is not required to take tests or the final examination. A change in registration from audit to credit or credit to audit must be done during the add/drop period. Under no circumstances can a course taken for audit be given credit at a later date.