UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Grading (Graduate)

I. Executive Summary

This policy guides all aspects of Graduate level grading.

II. Policy Statement

Instructors assign grades on the basis of their evaluation of the academic performance of each student enrolled in their courses. At the end of the term, the grades are reported to the Office of the Registrar which is responsible for maintaining student academic records and making grades available to students.


Letters are used to designate the quality of student academic achievement.

Graduate Grades

LetterDefinitionGrade Points Per Credit Hour
A Commendable 4
C Marginal 2
U Unsatisfactory0
SPSatisfactory Progress 
UPUnsatisfactory Progress 
I Incomplete  
IP In Progress  
W Withdrawal  
WEWithdrawal with Extenuating Circumstances 
NNo Credit 
UX Academic Dishonesty Violation 
NR No recognition given for audit  
NGTemporary Unreported Grade

Grade of I (Incomplete)
The grade of I is assigned at the discretion of the instructor when a student who is otherwise passing has not, due to circumstances beyond their control, completed all the work in the course. The missing work must be completed by the deadline specified by the instructor, but no later than 12 months after the term in which the I was assigned, whichever comes first, so long as the student remains enrolled at the University. A student may not complete the missing work if they are not enrolled at the University. If the I is not removed during the specified time, a grade of U as appropriate is automatically assigned. Time extensions for the completion of an I beyond one year cannot be approved except by a Graduate Academic Petition to the Graduate School under extraordinary circumstances. The grade of I cannot be removed by enrolling again in the same course, and students should not re-enroll in a course in which they have been assigned the grade of I. A grade of I cannot be replaced with a grade of W (Withdrawal).

Grade of P/U (Pass/Unsatisfactory) Option
Certain graduate courses, such as research seminars, tutorials, and internships, may be designated for Pass/Unsatisfactory grading upon recommendation of the offering department and approval of the Graduate Council. The grade of P (Pass) in such a course shall be considered as evidence of satisfactory performance. A grade of U (Unsatisfactory) will affect eligibility for continued enrollment and will not apply toward requirements for the degree. Graduate students may not elect the Pass/Unsatisfactory option for a standard graded course, with the exception of GRAD courses.

Grade of SP/UP (Satisfactory Progress/ Unsatisfactory Progress)
The grade of SP (satisfactory progress) or UP (unsatisfactory progress) is assigned to graduate coursework for research activity that extends over more than one semester, typically dissertation or thesis research. It is important to align expectations as to what acceptable progress looks like, particularly when research goes beyond one semester.

Students receive a grade of SP (Satisfactory Progress) or UP (Unsatisfactory Progress) indicative of meeting these expectations. These grades are not factored into the GPA but do count toward hours attempted; and in the case of a grade of SP, toward hours earned and degree progression. The credit indicates that the student continued to be enrolled, which protects status related services that require enrollment. The assessment of progress is managed by the student’s advisor and graduate program director.

It is possible for a student to be registered in multiple sections of research in a given semester. The student could earn both SP and UP grades that term, thereby making partial progress. If an advisor assigns a grade of UP, they must discuss the reasons for the grade as well as expectations for remediation and research continuance with the student; and summarize the outcome in writing. When a student receives a second or subsequent grade of UP, the advisor and the graduate program director will review and discuss the lack of progress with the student and document their findings which may include a recommendation to the Graduate School to terminate the course of study.

Grade of W (Withdrawal)
No grade will be given for a course dropped on or before the last day to drop a course without record. After this period, a student is permitted to withdraw from a course with a grade of W, in accordance with the conditions and deadlines of the Withdrawals policy. Post-deadline withdrawal is only allowed for approved extenuating circumstances. Unsatisfactory academic performance itself is not an extenuating circumstance. The date of withdrawal is determined when the “Withdrawal” notification is received by the Office of the Registrar. The grade of W is posted on the academic transcript.

Grade of WE (Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances)
After the deadline to withdraw from a course, a student may, in certain circumstances, request to withdraw from their courses based on an extenuating circumstance (i.e., a medical emergency, a death in the immediate family, or other serious event). The student must provide documentation to support their request. WE requests for the current term are submitted through the Office of the Dean of Students. Although rarely granted, WE requests for prior terms are submitted through the Graduate School using the Academic Petition tool. If approved, a grade of WE is noted on the student’s transcript.

Grade of N (No Credit)
The grade of N (No Credit) is used in very special circumstances. The N grade signifies that there is no credit given for the course. Therefore, any course that receives the N grade does not enter into the student’s grade point average. The N grade is used for the master’s and doctoral level, resident and non-resident, and graduate student continuing registration courses (GRAD 7999 or GRAD 9999). The N grade is also used to replace IP grades which have expired, and for GRAD 8990. These are the only three uses for the N grade.

Grade of UX (Academic Dishonesty Violation)
For details on the use of the UX grade, please see University Policy 407, Code of Student Academic Integrity, Section IV – Penalties at legal.charlotte.edu/policies/up-407#IV.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average for a graduate student is based only on those graduate courses taken at UNC Charlotte. It is determined by multiplying the number of grade points for each grade (A=4, B=3, C=2, U=0) by the number of credit hours credit received in that courses adding all accumulated grade points together, and then dividing by the total number of credit hours the student has attempted except those for which the student received a grade of I, IP, W, P, N, AU, or NR. When a course not listed as “May be repeated for credit” is repeated, no additional credit hours attempted accrue and the hours earned and grade points of the previous grade are replaced by those of the current grade.

Graduate students must have a 3.0 GPA in the courses on their degree plan of study in order to graduate. However, the grades for all courses attempted will remain on the transcript and will be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA as it is reported on the transcript (except as described in the above paragraph).

Repeating Graduate Courses

Graduate students are allowed to repeat a maximum of two courses in which the student has been assigned a grade of C or U (but not an I). If the course grade has resulted in suspension or termination of enrollment, the student must appeal to be reinstated in order to repeat the course. A given course may be repeated one time only. Each grade earned in a repeated course is shown on the student’s transcript. The record of the first attempt remains a part of the student’s permanent record and counts in the number of marginal (C) grades accumulated and the overall GPA. However, the hours earned and grade in the first attempt are not computed in the program GPA used for graduation clearance. Successfully repeating a course does not change the number of marginal (C) grades accumulated. Enrollment will be terminated if a student receives a grade of U in a repeated course for which the student previously earned a U.

Final Grades

Final grades are available through the secure student access pages of My UNC Charlotte online at my.charlotte.edu.

Final Grade Changes and Appeals from Final Course Grades

When a final course grade other than Incomplete (I) is officially reported by the instructor at the end of an academic term, the grade is recorded by the Office of the Registrar and can be changed only if the grade has been assigned arbitrarily or impermissibly as defined in University Policy 410, Policy and Procedures for Student Appeals of Final Course Grades.

For guidelines on applying this policy, please visit University Policy 411, Request for Review of a Final Course Grade Guidelines for Students.

Students should follow the procedures outlined in that policy if they believe that the final course grade that has been assigned is incorrect. The policy encourages the student to discuss the grade with the instructor as soon as possible after the grade is received. Students should note, however, that the University is not obliged to respond to a grade appeal unless the student files it with the appropriate department chairperson or interdisciplinary program director within the first four weeks following the last day of the regular semester or the summer term in which the grade was received. When a grade is assigned consistent with University policy, only the instructor has the right to change the grade except as provided in the Incomplete grade policy. When an instructor reports a grade change for a grade other than I, the Change of Grade request must be approved by their Department Chairperson and the Graduate School.

III. Definitions

  • Department chair – The faculty member in charge of an academic department of the University.
  • Registrar – The official at the University who is responsible for maintaining student records. The Office of the Registrar plans and oversees registration, academic record maintenance, transcript preparation, graduation, a degree audit report system, and curricular records.
  • My UNC Charlotte – One-stop shopping for student services via the Web. It combines various systems, user interfaces, and technical solutions already available to the UNC Charlotte community in a single, consistent web-based interface. Students should use My UNC Charlotte at my.charlotte.edu to access web-enabled student services, course information, e-mail, and calendar scheduling.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: TBD
  • Revised: February 25, 2021 [new grade type SP/UP added]
  • Revised: December 1, 2022 [adjusted language for SP/UP grade type]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this policy referenced?
    The policy is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website and in the Degree Requirements & Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog.
  • Which students are covered under this policy?
    This policy applies to all graduate students at UNC Charlotte.
  • What is the difference between a cumulative GPA and a program GPA?
    Your cumulative GPA is based on all courses taken at UNC Charlotte. Your program GPA is based on all courses that apply to your degree program taken at UNC Charlotte and is used for graduation clearance.
  • If I repeat a course, are both grades calculated in my GPA?
    Both grades will apply to your cumulative GPA, however, only the last attempt will apply to your program GPA.
  • Are graduate students eligible for grade replacement?
    No, grade replacement only applies to undergraduate students.
  • Why does credit graded as UP apply toward the total credit hours earned?
    The credit indicates that the student continued to be enrolled, which protects status related services like financial aid. The assessment of progress is managed by the student’s advisor and graduate program director.