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Grading, Courses and Credit

Standards of Scholarship

While some programs may have stricter grading standards, usually only courses in which A, B, C, or Satisfactory are earned may be counted in satisfaction of degree or credential requirements.* You must maintain an average of at least 3.0 grade points per unit in all upper division and graduate courses. A course in which you receive a D+ grade or lower does not count towards meeting the unit requirement for the master’s degree, but does count in computing the grade point average. Lower division courses are excluded from the graduate GPA. Some programs require a higher average than 3.0 for the student to remain in graduate status.

Definition of Good Academic Standing

Students must maintain the following criteria to be in good academic standing:

  • GPA at or above 3.0
  • minimum of 12 units passed per quarter (unless on approved part-time status)
  • satisfactory progress in the graduate program, as determined by the graduate advisor, program requirements, and the thesis or dissertation chair (if applicable)
  • accumulation of no more than 8 units of combined Incomplete, Unsatisfactory, or F grades at any one time

Students who fail to maintain these standards will be placed on academic probation or may be disqualified.

Repeated Courses

Any student may repeat a course in which they received a grade of C (including C+), D, F or Unsatisfactory up to a maximum of three courses. In such repeated courses, only the most recently received grade and corresponding grade points shall be used in calculating a student’s grade point average, but all units attempted and grades received shall remain part of the student’s permanent record. Any repeated course, except for one offered only on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis, must be taken for a letter grade (A, B, C, D, and F). 

Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grading

If you have not yet advanced to candidacy, you may petition to take one normally graded course per quarter on an S/U basis provided the course is used to explore an area unrelated to your academic discipline. Courses that fulfill program requirements, including prerequisites and deficiencies, may not be taken on an S/U basis. The only exception to this rule is if the Graduate Council has granted prior approval to the program. An S/U course may be used to fulfill unit requirements. To receive an S grade in lower or upper division work, you must achieve at least a C-. To receive an S grade in a graduate course, you must receive a B- or better. Grading Option Change petitions must be filed in Graduate Studies by the end of the fifth week of the quarter. A petition received after the deadline must include an explanation for the missed deadline.  Petitions received after the end of instruction will not be approved.

If you have advanced to candidacy, you may take an unlimited number of courses on an S/U basis with the approval of your graduate advisor.

For more information, review the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option policy.


​A grade of Incomplete is assigned when work is of passing quality but is incomplete. Before you request an Incomplete, you should consider all the factors involved. If you are doing well in a course but are unable to complete the work because of illness, personal emergency, or other “good” cause, an Incomplete is appropriate. But if you are not doing well or you are simply in over your head, an Incomplete grade is inappropriate and will not be assigned. In this case you should consider dropping the course and taking it again later.

You must remove the Incomplete grade before the end of the third succeeding quarter of academic residence (quarters in which a student is on PELP or has withdrawn do not count in the three quarter total). To remove the incomplete, you must contact the instructor offering the course who will initiate the Incomplete Grade Change via the online Grade Change Tool.  For more information please visit the Grade Changes website. If the “I” is not removed by the end of the specified time, it will revert to an “F.” You may request an extension by petitioning the Dean of Graduate Studies. Under no circumstances should you formally re-enroll to make up an Incomplete. If part of the agreement between you and the instructor for removing the Incomplete involves participation in a subsequent section of the course, you should participate and complete the assignments but NOT formally enroll the second time.

If you accumulate a combination of more than 8 units of incomplete, unsatisfactory, or failing grades, you will be placed on academic probation.

Transfer Credit

Students seeking the master’s degree may request to transfer coursework to their graduate transcript. Students seeking a doctoral degree do not transfer coursework.  Programs may accept coursework taken elsewhere in place of required program coursework provided the student is able to demonstrate the equivalence of such courses. Coursework requested for transfer must have been taken at an accredited institution. The Petition to Transfer Coursework must be approved by the graduate advisor and forwarded to Graduate Studies. The Dean of Graduate Studies determines final approval. See Graduate Council Policy on Residence and Transfer Units for all rules and regulations. 

Credit by Examination

With permission from instructors, students are allowed to sit in on classes without registering for them. If the student later decides to seek credit for that class, he/she can request credit by examination. Credit by examination is available to registered students in good academic standing. The student does not have to be enrolled in the class nor does the class have to be offered in the quarter when they take the exam. Credit by Examination petitions are available in the Office of the University Registrar.   The student must have the petition signed by the appropriate instructor and the Dean of Graduate Studies before returning it to the Registrar. To have their petition approved, a student must present adequate evidence of their ability to prepare for the examination. There is a $5 fee for each petition.

PLEASE NOTE: Some programs have additional requirements that may affect your funding eligibility. Be sure to check with your graduate adviser.