Grading & Transcripts

Grading and Transcripts

Effective: January 3, 2011

Last Updated: Revised by the Teaching & Learning Committee March 15, 2017, approved by EVCAA November 22, 2017; approved by TLC 3-22-2023; approved by EVCAA 6-30-2023

Policy Owner: Academic Affairs 

Policy Contact: Jennifer Mencl (undergraduate education), Erik Brown (graduate education), Tracey Bolen (Registrar)

This policy may be modified from time to time but existing transcripts will not be modified when there are changes in policy. Changes to the grading and transcript policy will be reflected on the legend on the back of the official transcript.

A. Establishment and Use of University Grading Systems

  1. There are two distinct grading systems at the University of Minnesota Duluth, A-B-C-D-F (with pluses and minuses as permitted by this policy; see chart below) and S-N. The S-N system is a self-contained alternative to the A-F system and the two may not be combined for a particular student in a particular course. Students may receive grades or symbols only from the grading system under which they have registered for a course. This policy does not require any instructor to use pluses and minuses.
  2. There are, in addition, registration symbols identified and described in this policy that carry neither grade nor credit.
  3. No college or program is required to offer a course on the S-N grading system.
  4. Any unit may choose to limit grades in a particular course to the A-F or the S-N system.
  5. When both grading systems are available to a student, he or she must declare a choice of system as part of the initial registration for the course. The choice may not be changed after the end of the second week of classes (the first week in summer sessions).
  6. Except as provided in this policy in Section A (7), no college may use any grading systems other than the ones established by this policy.
  7. The UM Medical School Duluth is exempt from the provisions of this policy, but will report their grading systems, and any changes therein, to the UMD Office of the Registrar.
  8. The No Grade (NG) grading basis is used for courses where no grade is required, i.e. thesis courses or courses that have no credit value.

B. Permanent Grades for Academic Work

  1. The list below identifies the possible permanent grades that can be given for any course for which credit is to be awarded.  These grades will be entered on a student's official transcript and carry the indicated grade points.  (UMD does not award A+ grades, nor are D- grades permitted).  
GradeGrade PointsDefinition
A4.000Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
B3.000Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements
C2.000Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect
D1.000Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements
S Represents achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C or better.  The S grade will not carry grade points but the credits will count toward the student's degree program if allowed by the college or program.
F0.000Represents failure and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see Section C).  The F carries 0 grade points and the credits for the course do not count toward any academic degree program.  The credit hours for the course will count in the grade point average.
N Represents no credit and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see criteria for I grade). The N carries no grade points and the credits for the course do not count toward any academic degree program. The credit hours for the course do not count in the grade point average.


  1. These definitions might not apply to grades awarded to students enrolled in graduate, post-baccalaureate, and professional programs, but the grade points are the same no matter the level or course of enrollment.
  2. Instructors are permitted to hold graduate and undergraduate students who are in the same class to different standards of academic performance and accomplishment. The syllabus must make clear what the different standards will be for the different groups of students who may be enrolled in the class.
  3. These are the general University standards. In connection with all symbols of achievement, instructors will define for a class, at one of its earliest meetings and as explicitly as possible, the performance that will be necessary to earn each grade.
  4. Grades for academic work are based on the quality of the work submitted including when a grade is reduced by the instructor for academic dishonesty. Instructors have the responsibility and authority to determine how final grades are assigned.

C. Incompletes

There will be a symbol I (incomplete) awarded to indicate that the work of the course has not been completed. The I will be assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances (as determined by the instructor), the student who has successfully completed a substantial portion of the course's work with a passing grade was prevented from completing the work of the course on time.

  1. The assignment of an I requires a written agreement  (the form is found at under Academic Status - Incomplete Grade Contract) between the instructor and student specifying the time and manner in which the student will complete the course requirements. In no event may any such written agreement allow a period of longer than one year to complete the course requirements, except as provided in sections C (3) and C (7).
  2. Work to make up an I must be submitted to the instructor (or the department head) within one year of the last day of final examinations of the term in which the I was given for all students except graduate and professional students. If not submitted by that time, the I will automatically change to an F (if the student was registered on the A-F system) or an N (if the student was registered on the S-N system) for the course. If an I changes automatically to an F or an N, the instructor has the discretion to reinstate the I for one additional year only.
  3. For graduate and professional students, an I remains on the transcript until changed by the instructor or department head. Under non-academic exceptional circumstances, more than one year may be permitted to complete the I, when noted in the written agreement.
  4. When an I is changed to another symbol, the I is removed from the record. Once an I has become an F or an N, under the provisions of the preceding paragraph, it may subsequently be converted to any other grade, upon petition by the instructor (or the department if the instructor has left the University) to the college.
  5. A student does not need to be registered at the University in order to complete the work necessary to convert an I to a grade with credit in the time and manner previously agreed upon between the student and the instructor. The instructor is expected to turn in the new grade within four weeks of the date the work was submitted by the student. (Depending on the timing of when the work is turned in and the ability of the instructor to award a grade, an F or an N may appear temporarily on the transcript.)
  6. Students may have a degree conferred with an I for a course(s) that is not required for the degree.  A permanent grade may replace the I and be calculated in the degree GPA within 30 days from the end term in which the degree was conferred.  Otherwise, the degree GPA is frozen upon graduation but the cumulative GPA will reflect the change in GPA as a result of the grade change.
  7. When students are called to active military duty, and reach agreement with their instructor(s) to take an incomplete, they will have up to one calendar year following their discharge from active duty to complete their incomplete(s).
  8. Receipt of an I in a course does not create an entitlement for a student to take the course a second time.

D. Scholastic dishonesty

Scholastic dishonesty in any portion of the academic work for a course may be grounds for awarding a grade of F or N for the entire course, at the discretion of the instructor. This provision allows instructors to award an F or an N to a student when scholastic dishonesty is discovered; it does not require an instructor to do so. Students who enroll for a course on the A-F grading system will receive an F if such grade is warranted; students who enroll for a course on the S-N system will receive an N if such grade is warranted. (See Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, Academic Integrity, for a definition of scholastic dishonesty.) 

E. Other Transcript Symbols

  1. Credit by Exam.  There will be a symbol T posted as a prefix to the original grade, to indicate credits awarded by test. 
  2. Auditing a course.
    1. There will be a symbol V, visitor, indicating registration as an auditor or visitor, which will carry no credit and no grade.
    2. Students auditing a course are required to pay full tuition but do not take exams and are not required to do homework. An auditor is entered on the class roster (grade report), is counted as filling a seat in a controlled entry course, and is counted in an instructor's student contact hours.
    3. Students may not sit in on a course without registering for it.
    4. A student will be allowed to take a previously audited class for a grade.
  3. Withdrawing from a course.
    1. If a student cancels registration in a course during the first two weeks of classes, there will be no record of that course registration entered on the student's transcript.
    2. There will be a symbol W, withdrawal, entered on the transcript irrespective of the student's academic standing in that course, if the student withdraws from the course during the third through tenth week of class or during the second or third weeks of summer sessions.
    3. Except as provided in the preceding section, withdrawal after the deadlines will require approval of the college and may not be granted solely because a student is failing the course; there must be extenuating non-academic circumstances justifying late withdrawal.
  4. Continuation course. There will be a symbol X, indicating a student may continue in a continuation course in which a grade cannot be determined until the full sequence of courses is completed. The instructor will submit a grade for each X when the student has completed the sequence.
  5. No Grade. There will be a symbol, NG, posted for courses in which no grade is required.
  6. No grade reported. There will be a symbol NR, administratively assigned to indicate that a grade was not reported for the course. The NR does not carry any GPA points.

F.  Repeating and Retaking Courses

  1. Repeating a course: To repeat a course means that students register for select courses more than one time across multiple semesters. By repeating a course, a student earns credit(s) and a grade. Each grade contributes to the overall GPA. 
    1. Courses in which course content varies each term of enrollment (e.g., special topics courses) may be repeated.
    2. Courses designated as “repeatable” may be repeated. No permission is necessary to register for “repeatable” courses.
  2. Retaking a course: To retake a course means that students may register for a course they have already taken to obtain a different grade. When retaking a course, no additional credits are counted toward the student’s degree program.
    1. Limitations on retakes and related permissions:
      1. To retake a course one time: A student may retake a course in which they received a grade of a C- or lower or an N one time without permission. A student may retake a course in which they earned a grade of a C or higher or an S one time with department approval on the “Retake a Course” form.
      2. To retake a course more than once: A student must obtain department approval using the “Retake a Course” form to retake a course more than one time regardless of previous course grade(s). Students should meet with an academic advisor before requesting departmental approval to retake a course more than once.
    2. Where students may retake a course and related permissions:
      1. Within UMD: Students may retake a course at UMD based on the parameters outlined in 2.a.
      2. Within other University of Minnesota System campuses: Students may retake an approved equivalent course at another campus within the University of Minnesota System. This requires department approval prior to registration through the “Retake a Course” form. Only the last grade recorded is used in calculating the University of Minnesota GPA. Only the most recently completed credits can be applied toward graduation requirements. Transfer courses carry the number of credits assigned by the transfer institution.
      3. Outside the University of Minnesota System: UMD students may take an equivalent course at an institution outside of the University of Minnesota System to replace a course previously completed at UMD only if department approval is granted before registering for the course through the “Retake a Course” form. Although this course may be used to meet UMD degree requirements, the grade for the course will not be included in the student’s University of Minnesota GPA. Only the most recently completed credits can be applied toward graduation requirements. Transfer courses carry the number of credits assigned by the transfer institution. A notation will be added to the transcript that the UMD course was repeated at another institution.
    3. Retaking a course has the following grade implications:
      1. Undergraduate students: 
        1. If an undergraduate student retakes a course before receiving their degree, (a) both grades for the course will appear on the official transcript, (b) only the last enrollment for the course will count in the student's grade point average, and (c) the course credits will not be counted more than once toward degree and program requirements. 
        2. When a student retakes a course, all prior attempts are bracketed and only the most recent attempt counts.  Bracketing is the practice of excluding a course in the calculation of a student's GPA and not counting the course toward any degree requirements, including electives. An F grade earned in a course may not be bracketed with an N grade earned when the course is retaken. Any previous  grade earned in a course may be bracketed with an S grade earned when a course is retaken.
      2. Graduate students: 
        1. If a graduate student retakes a course before receiving their degree, (a) both grades for the course will appear on the official transcript, (b) the student must identify the one attempt for the course that will count toward degree and program requirements, and (c) all grades for the course will count in the student's grade point average.
      3. If an undergraduate student or a graduate retakes a course after their degree has been awarded, the original course grade will not be excluded from the degree GPA nor will the new grade be included in the degree GPA.

G.   Other Provisions

  1. Zero-credit courses. Courses that carry zero credits do not count in either term or cumulative grade point averages. Such courses carry normal tuition and fee charges.
  2. Releasing transcripts. The University's official transcript, the complete and chronological record of the student's enrollment and academic performance, will be released by the University only at the request of the student or in accord with state or federal statutes.
  3. Grade point average. Every student will have calculated, both at the end of each grading period (quarter or semester) and cumulatively, a grade point average, which will be the ratio of grade points earned divided by the number of credits attempted with grades of A-F (including pluses and minuses). Both the term and cumulative grade point average will appear on each student's record.
  4. Final grade due date. Final grades will be submitted to the Registrar no later than three business days following the date of the last scheduled final examination for the term.
  5. Transcript Text.  Text notations may be entered to the transcript to describe specific events.  Any requests for a new category of notation to be included on the transcript must be approved by the Registrar in coordination with the Office of Academic Affairs.