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General University Grading Systems

The general University grading system is applicable to all of Stanford University except the Graduate School of Business, the School of Law, and M.D. students in the School of Medicine.

Effective Spring Quarter 2015-16, the GPA is computed under the general University grading system and published on the official undergraduate transcript. Transcripts for students with coterminal degree programs publish only the undergraduate career GPA based upon the courses assigned to the undergraduate degree program. For undergraduates who graduated before 1986, the GPA is not included on the transcript. For further information about how the internal General University GPA is determined, see How the General University GPA is Determined.

The GPA does not appear on the official graduate transcript.   

Stanford University does not calculate a rank in class.

Most courses are graded according to the general University grading system. However, courses offered through Law, Business, and Medicine are graded according to those schools' grading systems, even in cases where students in other programs are enrolled in their classes. Note also that, as to graduate students, there may be departmental requirements as to grades that must be maintained for purposes of minimum academic progress.

Definition and Explanation of Grading Systems

All grades/notations for courses taken in 1995-96 or later are to be visible on student transcripts. Effective Summer Quarter 2008-09, the notation * was changed to GNR (Grade Not Reported).

Grade

Description

A (+,-)

Excellent

B (+,-)

Good

C (+,-)

Satisfactory

D (+,-)

Minimal pass

NP

Not Passed

NC

No Credit (unsatisfactory performance, 'D+' or below equivalent, in a class taken on a satisfactory/no credit basis)

CR

Credit (student-elected satisfactory; A, B, or C equivalent)

S

No-option Satisfactory; A, B, or C equivalent

L

Pass, letter grade to be reported

W

Withdraw

N (-)

Continuing course

I

Incomplete

RP

Repeated Course

*

No grade reported (effective through Spring 2008-09).

GNR

Grade not reported (effective beginning Autumn Quarter 2009-10).

Explanation

Grade

Description

NC

The notation 'NC' represents unsatisfactory performance in courses taken on a satisfactory/no credit basis. Performance is equivalent to letter grade 'D+' or below.

NP

The notation 'NP' is used by instructors in courses taken for a letter grade that are not passed.

CR

In a course for which some students receive letter grades, the 'CR' represents performance that is satisfactory or better when the student has elected the 'CR' grading option.

S

For an activity course or a course in which the instructor elects to grade students only on a satisfactory/no credit basis, the 'S' represents performance that is satisfactory or better. For such a course, no letter grades may be assigned for satisfactorily completed work. It should be noted that the Registrar is unable to record course grades submitted when the instructor has not observed the required distinction between 'S' and 'CR.' The 'satisfactory' options are intended to relieve the pressure on students for achievement in grades. The 'satisfactory' options in no way imply fewer or different course work requirements than those required of students who elect evaluation with a letter grade. A department may limit the number of 'satisfactory' courses to count for a major program. No more than 36 units of Stanford course work (including activity courses) in which a 'CR' or 'S' was awarded can be applied toward the 180 (225 if dual degrees are being pursued) units required for a bachelor's degree. Transfer students are limited to 27 'CR' or 'S' units applied to the 180/225 minimum.

L

The 'L' is a temporary notation that represents creditable completion of a course for which the student will receive a permanent letter grade before the start of the next quarter. The 'L' is given when the instructor needs additional time to determine the specific grade to be recorded, but it is not appropriate if additional work is expected to be submitted by the student. A student receives unit credit for work graded 'L.'

N

The 'N' indicates satisfactory progress in a course that has not yet reached completion. Continuation courses need not continue at the same number of units, but the grade for all quarters of such a course must be the same.

N-

The 'N-' grade indicates unsatisfactory progress in a continuing course. The first 'N-' grade constitutes a warning. The adviser, department chair, and student should discuss the deficiencies and agree on the steps necessary to correct them. A second consecutive 'N-' will normally cause the department to deny the student further registration until a written plan for the completion of the degree requirements has been submitted by the student and accepted by the department. Subsequent 'N-' grades are grounds for dismissal from the program.

I

The 'I' is restricted to cases in which the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the course work. No credit is given until the course is completed and a passing grade received. When a final grade is received, all reference to the initial 'I' is removed. 'I' grades must be changed to a permanent notation or grade within a maximum of one year. If an incomplete grade is not cleared at the end of one year, it is changed automatically by the Office of the University Registrar to an 'NP' (not passed) or 'NC' (no credit) as appropriate for the grading method of the course. Students must request an incomplete grade by the last class meeting. Faculty may determine whether to grant the request or not. Faculty are free to determine the conditions under which the incomplete is made up, including setting a deadline of less than one year (but not more than one year). A leave of absence does not stop the clock on the time limit for resolving incompletes. Graduate students with extenuating circumstances, that may warrant an exception to academic policy, should discuss the need for an extension to the time limit with their advisor and the course instructor. Students may request an extension of the deadline for resolving an incomplete by submitting the Petition to Change Course Enrollment (Graduate Students).

RP

The notation 'RP' (meaning Repeated Course) replaces the original grade recorded for a course when a student retakes a course. (See the "Repeated Courses" section of this bulletin.)

W

The notation 'W' (meaning Withdraw) is recorded when a student withdraws from a course.

*

The '' symbol appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar for courses taken prior to 2001-02. The '' symbol remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported (effective through Spring 2008-09).

GNR

The notation 'GNR' appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar. The 'GNR' notation remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported. (Effective beginning Autumn Quarter 2009-10.)

Reporting of Grades

All grades should be reported within 96 hours after the time and day reserved for the final examination, and in no case later than noon of the fourth day (including weekends) after the last day of the final examination period.

In the case of degree candidates in Spring Quarter, final grades should be reported by noon of the day following the end of the final examination period.

Revision of End-Quarter Grades

When duly filed with the Office of the University Registrar, end-quarter grades are final and not subject to change by reason of a revision of judgment on the instructor's part; nor are grades to be revised on the basis of a second trial (for example, a new examination or additional work undertaken or completed after the end of the quarter). Changes may be made at any time to correct an actual error in computation or transcription, or where some part of the student's work has been unintentionally overlooked; that is, if the new grade is the one that would have been entered on the original report had there been no mistake in computing and had all the pertinent data been before the instructor, the change is a proper one.

If a student questions an end-quarter grade based on the grading of part of a specific piece of work (for example, part of a test) on the basis of one of the allowable factors mentioned in the preceding paragraph (for example, an error in computation or transcription, or work unintentionally overlooked, but not matters of judgment as mentioned below), the instructor may review the entire piece of work in question (for example, the entire test) for the purpose of determining whether the end-quarter grade was a proper one. In general, changing an end-quarter grade is permitted on the basis of the allowable factors already mentioned whether an error is discovered by the student or the instructor; however, changing a grade is not permitted by reason of revision of judgment on the part of the instructor.

In the event that a student disputes an end-quarter grade, the established grievance procedure should be followed (see the Student Academic Grievance Procedure).

Freezing of Grades Upon Graduation

All grades, with the exception of 'I' (Incomplete), 'GNR' (Grade Not Reported), 'L' (Pass, grade to follow), and 'N' (Continuation) grades, are frozen at the time of graduation. Grades of Incomplete become frozen 12 months after the quarter in which they were awarded, either as 'NP' (Not Passed) if the course work has not been successfully completed, or another grade if it has. Grades of 'GNR', 'L', or 'N' also have one year to be updated after which they are frozen as they stand. The Office of the University Registrar evaluates prior to graduation whether the GPA on a transcript bearing grades of Incomplete would meet University requirements for graduation even if all 'I' grades were replaced by 'NP'.

Graduate School of Business Grades

All courses offered by the Graduate School of Business are graded according to the following five-level scheme:

Definition and Explanation of Grading Systems

Grade

Description

H

Honors. Work that is of truly superior quality.

HP

High Pass. A passing performance, and one that falls approximately in the upper quarter of passing grades.

P

Pass. A passing performance that falls in the center of the distribution of all passing grades.

LP

Low Pass. A passing performance that falls approximately in the lower quarter of passing grades.

U

Unsatisfactory. A failing performance. Work that does not satisfy the basic requirements of the course and is deficient in significant ways.

GNR

The notation 'GNR' appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar. The 'GNR' notation remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported (effective Autumn Quarter 2009-10).

GSB courses may receive grades of "+" (Pass) for courses taken on a Pass-Fail basis, with "U" denoting a failing grade, "I" for Incomplete, and "N" for a continuing grade. The grade of N is recorded in a course that spans more than a single quarter, where the grade in an earlier quarter will be determined only later, after the entire course sequence is complete..

Prior to 2009-10, an asterisk (*) notation was placed when no grade was reported.

For more information, see the GSB Grades website.

Stanford Law School Grades

Effective Autumn Quarter 2009-10, units earned in the Stanford Law School are quarter units. Units earned in the Stanford Law School prior to 2009-10 were semester units. The following grading system became effective in Autumn Semester 2008-09. J.D. students who graduated in 2009 remained on the prior grading system but all other students shifted to the new grading system. For more information, see the Stanford Law School Handbook.

Definition and Explanation of Grading Systems

Grade

Description

H

Honors (exceptional work, significantly superior to the average performance at the school)

P

Pass (representing successful mastery of the course material)

R

Restricted credit (representing work that is unsatisfactory)

F

Fail (representing work that does not show minimally adequate mastery of the material)

MP

Mandatory pass (representing P or better work)

N

Continuing course

I

Incomplete

*

No grade reported

GNR

Grade not reported (effective Autumn Quarter 2009-10).

The grading systems employed at the Stanford Law School September 2001 through Spring 2009 were as follows. Under the numerical system (with letter equivalents), the range of satisfactory grades ran from 4.3 to 2.5 as outlined in the following distribution. Below the grade of 2.5 was one level of restricted credit (2.2) and one level of failure (2.1). The number grades with letter equivalents were as follows:

Number Grades with Letter Equivalents

Numbering

Grade

4.3-4.2

A+

4.1-3.9

A

3.8-3.5

A-

3.4-3.2

B+

3.1-2.9

B

2.8-2.5

B-

2.2

Restricted Credit

2.1

Failure

On this old system, students could elect to take a limited number of courses on a credit/restricted credit/no credit system (K/RK/NK). 'K' was awarded for work that was comparable to numerical grades 4.3 to 2.5, 'RK' for Restricted Credit-level work (2.2), and 'NK' for Failure-level work (2.1). A limited number of courses were offered on a mandatory credit (KM)/no credit (NK) basis.

'N' is a temporary notation used in a continuing course; it is replaced with a final grade upon completion of the course series.

School of Medicine Grades

In general, the following grades are used in reporting on the performance of students in the M.D. program and in the M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies program:

Definition and Explanation of Grading Systems

Grade

Description

Pass (+)

Indicates that the student has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department or teaching group responsible for the course that the student has mastered the material taught in the course.

Fail (-)

Indicates that the student has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department or teaching group responsible for the course that the student has mastered the material taught in the course.

Incomplete (I)

Indicates that extenuating medical or personal circumstances have prevented the student from completing the course requirements. This grade is given when requested by the student with the prior approval of an Advising Dean in the School of Medicine.

Continuing (N)

Indicates that the course has not concluded and the student is continuing the course.

Exempt (Ex)

Indicates a course that is exempted by examination. No units are awarded.

GNR

The notation 'GNR' appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar. The 'GNR' notation remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported (effective Autumn Quarter 2009-10).

In general, a 'Fail' grade can be cleared by repeating and passing the particular course or by other arrangement prescribed by the department or teaching group. An 'Incomplete' grade can be made up in a manner specified by the department or teaching group within a reasonable time; if the deficiency is not made up within the specified time, the 'Incomplete' grade becomes a 'Fail' grade. The opportunity to clear a 'Fail' grade or an 'Incomplete' grade cannot be extended to individuals who are not registered or eligible to register as students in the M.D. program. For more specific information, see the Assessment of Student Academic Performance website.