Grades and points

Except in cases of clerical error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has submitted to Student Academic Services. A student may not do additional work after the quarter ends in order to improve their final grade. Grade changes may be made no more than one quarter after the grade was issued. See Academic Appeals for details about the process for appealing a course grade.

The quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter mark or grade, which is counted in points. Grade points (or quality points) are the numerical equivalent of letter grades and are assigned for each credit earned according to the scale below. 

For example, a student receiving a grade of A (worth 4.0 points) in a 3-credit course would earn 12 grade points. These points express the quality of a student’s performance in terms of numbers for the purpose of determining scholastic achievement and individual and graduation honors.

Grade Points Explanation
A 4.0 Excellent attainment
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0 Highly satisfactory attainment
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0 Satisfactory attainment
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0 Insufficient attainment with credit allowed
E 0.0 Failure
Au   Audit
P   Pass (used only with the pass/no credit option)
NC   No credit (used only with the pass/no credit option)
I   Incomplete
G   In progress
HW   Hardship Withdrawal
W   Withdrawal with official approval

Grade point average

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a given period by the number of credits for which the student was enrolled and for which he or she received a regular grade during the same period.

For example, if a student earns 27 grade points during a quarter in which he or she is enrolled for 9 credits, his or her GPA for the quarter will be 3.0.

Use of I, G, HW, W grades

“I” grade (incomplete): Indicates the student did not complete the work assigned for a course because of absence from school during the quarter due to illness or an acceptable emergency. The student must initiate the request for the “I” grade prior to the final examination or last class session. Unless the student is incapacitated, the Agreement for Incomplete Grade form should be completed. Documentation verifying the illness or acceptable emergency (e.g., a note from a medical doctor) may be required by the instructor. 

A student cannot carry more than 20 credits of incomplete grades without prior approval from the registrar.

The instructor is under no obligation to grant the request for an “I” grade. However, if the instructor chooses to issue an “I” grade, the instructor and student must formulate a plan for the student’s completion of the course requirements.

The student may not attend a future class in which she or he is not registered as a means of working toward completion of an “I” grade. 

A timeline for course completion will be determined by the instructor. However, the student must submit final coursework within one calendar year or the “I” becomes an “E.” The student must initiate the removal of the “I” grade once coursework has been completed. A student who has an "I" grade that has not yet been converted to a final, regular grade may not enroll in a course with the same subject code and course number.

“G” grade: Used only in specified courses in which a final grade is dependent upon additional work and applies only to approved 6000–7000 level courses, including internships, theses, dissertation, and projects at the discretion of the graduate program. Work must be completed within three calendar years or the “G” becomes permanent.

“HW”: The hardship withdrawal is assigned in rare cases by SPU administration after thorough review and substantiation of a student’s circumstances. Examples of situations leading to a hardship withdrawal include incapacitating illness or injury, or death of a family member. 

“W”: Withdrawal with official approval during weeks two through seven will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript. (See Withdrawal From Courses.)

A student’s degree will be awarded effective the quarter in which the final grade for the degree is assigned.

Pass/no-credit option

  • A “P” grade in this option must be at least equivalent to a “C” grade (2.0).
  • 6000- and 7000-level courses may not be taken for P/NC. Exceptions to this policy include: courses in the MFA-Creative Writing program, and any of these courses applied toward dual degree programs; and thesis, dissertation, research, and projects courses in any program, at the discretion of the academic school or department. 

Equivalent courses

A “repeatable course” is designed to allow students to enroll in the course multiple times for credit, up to a designated credit limit or number of repetitions. The course description for such a course indicates that the course is repeatable for credit. Within stated limits, credits and grades for these repeatable courses will count toward graduation requirements and the SPU GPA. 

Most courses are “non-repeatable” for credit, meaning a student may earn credit and grade points for the course only once. However, a student may enroll in a previously completed “non-repeatable” SPU course (or a course noted as its “equivalent”) for the purpose of earning a higher grade. A course may be repeated only once. 

Students who believe they have unusual circumstances may petition to repeat a course more than once by submitting a registration petition (PDF), accompanied by a statement from the course instructor, to Student Academic Services. 

The highest grade earned at SPU in a repeated course (or an equivalent SPU course) will apply to both the GPA for graduation and for honors at graduation. The original and repeated course will still appear on the transcript. Note that for students on academic probation, the quarterly SPU GPA that determines a student’s academic standing will take into account the entire SPU GPA from that quarter, including grades being excluded from the cumulative SPU grade point average.

Only courses taken at SPU will be used to change final course grades. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received.