Approved by: The President
History: Issued            -- August 2006
Revised          -- June 12, 2019
Last Revised  -- June 12, 2019
Related Policies: Student Academic Dishonesty; Commencement and Honors; Appeal of Failing Grades
Additional References:
Responsible Official: Senior Vice Provost for Administration and Dean of Graduate Studies tel. (202) 319-5247

I. Introduction

Reports of grades assigned are made available on the Web by the registrar at the end of each term:

Note that the following policy does not apply to The Columbus School of Law.

II. Grading System


Graduate students are graded under the following system:

Grading System 















Passing but Marginal








Administrative Failure



A grade of F* should be awarded to students who did not officially withdraw from the course, but who failed to attend and participate in course activities through the end of the period. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible. This allows the University to differentiate between an F grade awarded to students who complete the course but fail to achieve course objectives, and those students that receive an F grade because they have stopped attending or never attended a class. The official definition of F* to be used on transcripts and wherever else published would be “Administrative Failure”, awarded to a student who did not officially withdraw from the course, but who failed to participate in course activities through the end of the period.

By resolution of the Academic Senate, grade point averages are calculated for all graduate students having entered the University in the 1996 fall semester or after. Only grades earned in courses at and above the 500 level will be calculated. 

For satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, each student should consult school or department regulations which may specify a maximum number of C grades, depending on the nature of the courses, permitted in a degree program.

At the end of each semester, the chair of each department may submit to the dean a report stating the names of students who, in the judgment of the department, should not continue studies for advanced degrees. Such students are so notified by the dean and advised or directed to discontinue graduate work. The admission to graduate studies or to candidacy for the doctorate may be withdrawn by the dean.

III. Incomplete Grades


A provisional grade of I (incomplete) may be given only to a student who has not completed the requirements of a course for legitimate reasons, provided that work thus far completed in the course is of passing quality. The grade of I may not be given to a student who has simply failed to meet the academic requirements of the course on time. Grades of I must be submitted to the respective dean for approval and entry in Cardinal Students. 

Incomplete grades must be removed by the mid-semester of the succeeding term as specified in the Academic Calendar, whether or not the student is registered. If the incomplete grade is not removed by the mid-semester, the incomplete will be recorded as a grade of F (failure). Under extraordinary circumstances, but before the date of the mid-semester following the reported incomplete grade, a student may petition the instructor of the course and the dean of the school in which the student is enrolled for an extension of the period normally allowed for removal of the incomplete grade.

IV. Academic Integrity


All coursework is subject to the Student Academic Dishonesty Policy. Students are expected to read and comply with the standards on academic integrity set forth in the above referenced policy.

V. Change of Grade


A grade assigned for work in a course is not subject to change except (a) in the case of a specific error, which may be corrected upon the request of the teacher of the course, in writing, to the dean not later than one month after the beginning of the succeeding semester, or (b) in the case of a successful challenge to a failing grade of F after action in accordance with established procedures outlined in the University policy entitled Appeal of Failing Grades Policy. A successfully-challenged grade of F is changed to pass (P), and credit is given for the work in question; no other grade may be assigned. All changes in transcript information must be requested and approved by the end of the semester following registration and grading of a particular course.

VI. Good Standing


A student is considered to be in good standing (a) who has not become subject to dismissal for academic reasons, (b) whose record of conduct is satisfactory, and (c) who has met all financial obligations to the University or made satisfactory arrangements for their discharge with the Office of Enrollment Services.

VII. Dismissal


A graduate student will be dismissed from the University for the following reasons:

  • Incurring two or more failing grades in formal course work after being admitted to graduate study.
  • Failing to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for two consecutive semesters.
  • Failing to maintain continuous enrollment or, if not duly registered, failing to secure an approved academic leave.
  • Failing to complete a thesis or dissertation within the allotted time frame as provided by the University, unless an approved extension has been granted.
  • Failing to make satisfactory academic progress, as defined by University policy [see] and as specified by the degree program in which the student is enrolled.
  • If the dean of the student's school determines that a finding of academic dishonesty by a student warrants the student's dismissal, and the finding is not appealed or is upheld after appeal.
  • Failing to meet any additional academic standards set by the degree program in which the student is enrolled. (Students are directed to consult their school or department as to whether any such standards pertain.)

Academic dismissal is made by the dean of a school.