Grading Guidelines for Undergraduate Courses

The undergraduate study curriculum committee suggests that there should be some uniformity in grading in fairness to our students, and we propose the following guidelines, which were ratified at the faculty meeting of March 11, 1976, and updated in 1989 and 2017.  These guidelines were chosen to be consistent with current grading practices.

  1. A typical GPA for a lower division course will fall in the range 2.8 - 3.3, depending on the course and the students who enroll.  For example, a GPA of 3.0 would result from 35% A's, 45% B's, 13% C's, and 7% D's and F's. Introductory courses specifically designed for a broad audience may fall outside of this range.

    A typical GPA for an upper division course will fall in the range 3.0 - 3.5, depending on the course and the students who enroll. For example, a GPA of 3.2 would result from 45% A's, 40% B's, 10% C's, and 5% D's and F's. Courses with selective enrollment may fall outside of this range.

    The GPA for a course does not include grades for students who elect a Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) grading option. See the Registrar's web page on grades.

  2. Since some graduate students enroll in upper division undergraduate courses, care should be taken that their performance does not influence the grading of the undergraduate students. The undergraduate students as a separate group should first be assigned grades according to the guidelines above. Then the graduate students should be assigned grades using the same boundaries between grades as were used for the undergraduate population. (This technique properly evaluates graduate students against an undergraduate norm in an undergraduate course without skewing the norm because of their presence.)