Article VII. Credits and Grades

1. Credits

[updated 1/22/09]

A student may not register for, and/or receive, credit (semester hours) for a course other than the number of credits shown as approved for the course in the Schedule of Courses.

No student will be permitted to register in any school or college of the MU or in any course, other than Problems, Special Readings, or Research, after the expiration of one week following the first day of classes in regular session or the equivalent thereof in a shorter session. Registration in Problems, Special Readings, Research, or for Graduate Examination will be permitted until the final day of classes for a session. A department may establish an earlier deadline.

MU routinely accepts credit only from regional accredited institutions. All other schools may apply to MU for the right to have their courses reviewed for acceptance. However, the admissions office would not actually perform a review until an individual student with credits from such a institution transfers to the Columbia campus.

MU will transcript all courses taken at regionally accredited institutions, and courses from nonaccredited institutions accepted under the review procedures described above, with the exception of remedial courses. Courses unlike anything offered at MU will be automatically coded on the transcript as "no credit awarded". All other courses would be transcripted as "miscellaneous electives". Individual academic units will decide whether to accept any of these courses as credit toward their degree(s).

2. The Grading System

[updated 11/14/05, 11/18/10]

The purpose of the grading system is to provide a framework in which the faculty can report evaluation of student performance and achievement. For undergraduates, all teachers are expected to use the grading scale approved by the faculty. This precludes any department or unit from opting to use a modification of the scale.

  1. The undergraduate grading scale has fifteen grade categories. The grade categories (with associated grade points used to calculate the grade point average) are: A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), D (1.0), D- (0.7), F (0.0), FN (0.0) and W (withdrawal).

    This system is appropriate for those subjects and situations that allow discrimination in quality of achievement and performance. The S/U grading system is more appropriate for students wishing to take elective courses in a subject matter field in which they will be competing with majors, for mastery learning situations, and for courses graded primarily on the basis of attendance. The grades of S, U and W are not incorporated in the grade.

    The following definitions of each grade are intended to provide a standard for judgment, not a rule that can be applied mechanically; thus, while a grade of C in an undergraduate course indicates adequate work, a grade of C in a graduate course indicates work of less than adequate quality.

    1. The grade of A is awarded for performance of outstanding quality.
    2. The grade of B is awarded for superior, but less than outstanding performance.
    3. The grade of C is awarded for adequate performance. NOTE: Only a limited number of C grades may be applied toward a graduate degree.
    4. The grade of D is awarded for performance that marginally meets minimum standards. In most, but not all, cases a grade of D in a prerequisite undergraduate course is regarded as adequate for enrollment in the next higher course, whether it be the same or a related department. The grade of D is not awarded to graduate students.
    5. The grade of F indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable.
    6. The grade of FN indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable due to student non-attendance and participation. The FN grade is appropriate for a student that stopped attending class, completing class assignments and taking exams, but is still on the class roster at the end of the term. The FN grade is for internal purposes regarding financial aid eligibility and appears as an F on the official transcript. [amended 9/28/06]
    7. The grade of W indicates that the student is not failing the course at the time of withdrawal.
    8. All regulations currently applicable on a course by course basis and currently tied to a specific letter grade would be interpreted to mean a specific letter grade range. Hence, if a student currently must achieve a "C" in one course in order to proceed to another course, under the plus-minus grading system, that student would have to achieve a grade in the "C range" which would include the grade of "C-".
    9. All regulations currently tied to a specific grade average would be interpreted to mean the numerical average currently associated with that specific grade. Hence, the required "C average or better" on all courses would be interpreted as "2.00 average or better".
  2. The grading system (S/U). NOTE: Not applicable in the Schools of Law and Medicine.

    To the extent authorized by this article, the S (Satisfactory) and U (Unsatisfactory) grading system may be used. The grade of S represents the grades A, B, and C, and the grade of U represents the grades of D and F. A grade of UN indicates a level of performance that is unacceptable due to student non-attendance and participation. The UN grade is appropriate for a student that stopped attending class, completing class assignments and taking exams, but is still on the class roster at the end of the term. The UN grade is for internal purposes regarding financial aid eligibility and appears as an U on the official transcript. [amended 9/28/06] The grade of U is not applicable toward a degree in any school or college.

    In most cases the instructor will report grades initially on the A to F grading system, even though a student has elected the S and U grading system. The conversion from one system to the other will be made in the Office of the Registrar. In appropriate cases, when a course is offered only on an S/U grading basis, the instructor may report grades initially as S or U.

    1. Satisfaction of degree requirements by S grades. Any degree recommending faculty may allow students to satisfy its degree requirements by authorizing students to elect the S/U grading system for any available and otherwise acceptable courses, under such conditions and restrictions as the degree-recommending faculty may impose, provided, however, that in no case will more than twenty percent (20%) of the hours taken into account in determining the satisfaction of first baccalaureate degree requirements be hours passed under the S/U grading system.
    2. Courses open to election on S/U grading system. Departmental prerequisites. All courses taken for undergraduate credit will be deemed open to election on an S and U grading system unless specifically prohibited by a department, school, or college.
    3. Students ineligible to elect S/U grading system. Other general restrictions. Beginning students and students on scholastic probation at the time of enrollment are not eligible to elect the S/U grading system. No student may elect the S/U grading system in more than one course in any semester or summer session. These restrictions do not apply to courses in which all students are graded on an S/U basis.
    4. The faculty of any School or College may adopt additional conditions and restrictions with respect to the election of the S/U grading system by students in that School or College.
    5. A student who elects to begin a course under the S/U grading system is to be graded under that system upon completion of the course. Conversely, a student who begins a course under the A, B, C, D, F system is to be graded under that system upon completion of the course. A student may not elect to change from one grading system to another after the first two weeks of classes in a regular session or the equivalent thereof in a shorter session.
    6. S/U grading system in special courses. If a course for not more than three semester hours of credit or a practicum course of any number of semester hours of credit is of a type in which satisfactory and unsatisfactory academic achievement of performance can be distinguished but the assignment of meaningful A to F grades is not feasible, a departmental faculty, or combination of departmental faculties, may offer the course on the basis that each student will be graded either S or U. Such credit may be used to satisfy degree requirements only as provided in subsection i. of this section.
  3. Incomplete work (grade of I). [amended 10/21/04; effective Fall Semester 2005] Whenever a student cannot be assigned a grade at the end of a course in which he/she has been enrolled because his/her work is for good reason incomplete, the instructor will postpone the grade of the student, reporting to the Registrar the fact that such student's grade is I. An I grade may be assigned only when (1) the completed portion of the student's work in the course is of passing quality, and (2) there is such evidence of hardship as to make it unjust to hold the student to the time limits previously fixed for the completion of his/her work.

    Faculty should provide the information listed below when a student is awarded a grade of "I".  If the incomplete grade is not entered electronically, each department of the schools and colleges should maintain a written record of I grades recorded in courses of that department that are not submitted electronically. (Execption: research courses and problems courses related to research assignments numbered 4950-4959 or 4995).  Whether in electronic or paper form, the record should include:

    1. The name of the student;
    2. The course number, title, and semester hours of credit;
    3. Semester and year of enrollment;
    4. The signature of the instructor;
    5. A brief statement of the reason for delaying the grade;
    6. An adequate guide for the removal of the I grade (with a suggested final grade in the event of the departure or extended absence of the instructor from the campus).

    When an electronic explanation of the "I" grade is not recorded, a copy of the written record should accompany the grade report to the University Registrar's Office, which will in turn notify the appropriate dean. An undergraduate student who receives an "I" grade must complete the course requirements either (1) within one year from the date it was recorded (unless the course is numbered 4950-4959 or 4995), or (2) before the date of graduation (whichever comes first). When an incomplete is satisfactorily resolved, the faculty member responsible for the grade change will notify the Registrar of the revised grade. Otherwise, the Registrar will remove the "I" and record a grade of "F" in classes graded A-F or a grade of "U" in classes graded S/U. Any student planning to graduate with an unresolved "I" grade should be aware that translation to an "F" could drop the GPA below the requirements for graduation. As with any academic deficiency, the low GPA would delay the student's graduation until all requirements for graduation are met. Students called to Active Military Duty will be exempted from the one-year automated changes of I to F grades for the term of deployment and the year prior to deployment. In accordance with State statute, students may complete work upon their return from duty or may choose to maintain the I grade. Therefore, I grades for students called to Active Military Duty will remain listed as "I" until a change of grade is submitted by the faculty member, or indefinitely, if so desired by the student. [amended 8/2/07 and 11/17/11]

    Graduate and Professional Student (Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine) incomplete grade policy: [amended October 2005; effective Fall Semester 2005] An incomplete grade (I) may be recorded when the student's work is incomplete but otherwise worthy of credit, or when the instructor is unable to assign a grade at the end of the semester. The student must finish this work (Problems and Research courses exempted) within the next calendar year of residence. If the work is not completed after one calendar year, the request to change an "I" grade will require an accompanying letter of justification from the instructor. Although grades of "I" do not automatically convert to an "F" if not completed, departments or the instructor may establish conditions or regulations pertaining to "I" grades that are more stringent.

  4. Assignment of grades for dis-enrolled students. No grade will be assigned to a student who ceases for any reason to be a member of a course prior to the beginning of the fifth week of a semester or an equivalent period of time in a summer session. Except for the Law School, a student who officially withdraws from a course after the beginning of the fifth week and who is doing failing work will be assigned the grade F. If the quality of the student's work is not judged to be failing at the time of withdrawal, the grade W will be assigned. Students enrolled in any classes taken through the Law Career and who withdraw from a course after the beginning of the fifth week of a semester, or equivalent period of time in a summer session, will receive a mark of "W". [amended 11/18/10]
  5. Reporting of previously incomplete, unassigned, or erroneous grades. Whenever it becomes necessary to assign to a student a grade in a subject in which his/her grade was Incomplete (I), or to report the assignment of a previously unreported grade, or to correct a grade erroneously reported, proper notification will be sent to the Registrar on a form provided for that purpose.

    Note: Grade corrections must be processed within one year of the original reporting date. [amended 11/3/05]

    Unassigned grades for undergraduate students: [amended 5/19/05; effective Fall Semester 2005] In situations when there is a failure to record a grade on the official grade sheet, the Registrar will record a NR (not reported) and send a written notification of this action to the faculty member and relevant department chair. The faculty member is responsible for submitting a corrected entry. After 12 months NR will change to an F. Any student planning to graduate with an unresolved "NR" grade should be aware that translation to an "F" could drop the GPA below the requirements for graduation. As with any academic deficiency, the low GPA would delay the student's graduation until all requirements for graduation are met." Students called to Active Military Duty will be exempted from the one-year automated changes of NR to F grades for the term of deployment and the year prior to deployment. In accordance with State statute, student may choose to maintain the NR grade. Therefore, NR grades for students called to Active Military Duty will remain listed as "NR" until a change of grade is submitted by the faculty member, or indefinitely, if so desired by the student.

    Unassigned grades for graduate and professional school students (Law, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine): [amended October 2005; effective Fall Semester 2005] When grades are not reported by the instructor, these "Blank Grades" will be recorded as "NR" (Not Reported). The NR designation will remain on the student's transcript until a letter grade is submitted. If a letter grade is not submitted, the NR can remain on the student's record indefinitely and will not convert to an "F".

  6. Grade point averages, how determined -- grades excluded. In general, the grade point average for any period is obtained by dividing the grade points earned by the total number of hours for which the student was enrolled during that period. Grades of S, U, W, or I will not be included in determining the grade point average. Since, for internal purposes, there are variations in computing the grade point average among the several schools or colleges, the student should check with the appropriate Dean's Office to determine the system in effect for that division.
  7. Course repeat policy. [amended 2/13/03, 11/18/10]
    1. GPA calculations for repeated courses. When the grade received in an initial attempt, for an undergraduate course at University of Missouri Columbia or any University of Missouri System Campus is a "C-", "D+", "D", "D-", "F" or "WF", the grade will be replaced in the calculation of the GPA by the grade received in any second attempt of the same course at the University of Missouri-Columbia (unless the repeat grade is "I" or "W"). All grades received in second and subsequent attempts will be included in GPA calculations. No more than 15 semester hours will be dropped from the calculations of the student's GPA. All attempts of a given course will appear on the official transcript with the grade(s) earned. The transcript will have an explanation that the GPA is calculated using all grades earned in a course except the initial attempt when a course has been repeated. This policy is effective with course work where the initial enrollment and completion of the course was Fall Semester 2000 and thereafter.
    2. Grading system of repeated courses. Any course being repeated may not be taken on an S/U basis.
    3. Limitations.
      1. Applicability of policy. The policy is applicable to undergraduate students only.
      2. This policy does not imply a guarantee that openings will be available in course(s) if and when students wish to retake them, and instructors will not ordinarily know whether a student is enrolled in a course for the second time. When a course is repeated all applicable fees apply.
    4. Degree credit for repeated courses. Degree credit may be earned only once for a particular course unless a department or division has, in other policies, allowed for multiple-credit from that course.
    5. Impact of repeated courses.
      1. Students are strongly encouraged to visit with an adviser to determine whether course reenrollment is advisable (certain department or divisional policies may be important in this connection).
      2. Further, students should be aware that repeating a course may have an impact on financial aid, insurance, entrance to professional schools, participation in athletics, immigration status, and other non-academic matters.
      3. The academic status of a student in a given semester will not change as a result of repeating a course.

    Clarifying Comments: Grades of C or greater may not be replaced under the Course Repeat Policy because these grades are considered acceptable work and would not prevent a student from graduating from MU. Students may not apply the course repeat policy to courses once they have graduated. This also applies to students who are seeking a second undergraduate degree. For the purposes of this policy, an undergraduate course is any course an undergraduate student attempts for undergraduate credit regardless of the course level. A student may not apply the course repeat policy to a course repeated as an undergraduate student for graduate credit. If the department or course number has changed since the student completed the first attempt of a course, the department offering the course will verify that the subsequent course is substantially the same and the course repeat policy may apply. If the initial course is a cross-listed course, a student may apply the course repeat policy if the student subsequently completes the cross-listed course offered by the alternate department. Students may replace the grade earned from the course at the University of Missouri-Columbia or any other University of Missouri campus with a grade earned in an equivalent course at the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Courses for which a W or a grade of I are assigned are not considered attempts since no final grade has been recorded.

  8. UM grade point average and grade point average of record. Effective Spring 2011, for each undergraduate student at the University there will be calculated one cumulative GPA. The CUM GPA is the University of Missouri GPA, which will include all grades, credits, and honor points attempted at any University of Missouri campus, including all grades and credits. In computing the GPA the grade points assigned to students' transfer work are the grade points that would have been assigned if the courses had been taken on the University of Missouri System campus, including and adjustments made under policies related to course repeats and/or Academic Renewal/Forgiveness.
    The CUM GPA will be the GPA of record and will be printed on the official transcript along with the term GPAs (November 18, 2010).
  9. Courses offered only on S/U grading system. Courses for credit in which the grade is determined primarily by attendance will be offered only on the S/U grading system.
  10. Review of student grades.
    1. General standards for assessing student performance.
      1. Students are responsible for meeting the standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
      2. The establishment of the criteria for graduates and the evaluation of student academic performance are the responsibilities of the instructor, subject to the appeal provisions provided herein.
    2. Grounds for appeal of grades. Any appeal from a grade given to a student by an instructor must be based upon the following:
      1. No grade may be appealed except the final course grade.
      2. No grade may be appealed unless it is alleged that the grade is arbitrary and capricious as defined in subsection 3.
      3. The following non-exclusive allegations would not be grounds for appeal under these provisions:
        1. A challenge to the instructor's standards of academic performance;
        2. A challenge with respect to the instructor's judgment of the substantive quality of the student's academic performance;
        3. A challenge with respect to other purely judgmental determinations made by the instructor.
      4. Any review under this section is an appeal of the decision by the instructor and is not to be considered a de novo review of the academic performance of the student. In no case shall the review involve a substitution of the instructor's judgment with respect to the substantive quality of the student's academic performance. No grade shall be changed based merely on judgmental matters.
    3. Arbitrary and capricious grades. A grade may be considered arbitrary and capricious under these rules only if one of the following is shown:
      1. The grade is assigned on some basis other than the performance in the course;
      2. The grade was assigned by reference to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in the course, except that for undergraduates in 300 and 400 level courses, a different, but similarly uniform, grading standard may be applied than for graduate students in the course;
      3. The grade was assigned by reference to a performance standard which substantially deviated from the performance standard previously announced by the instructor;
      4. The grade was assigned after the instructor refused to correct mathematical or mechanical grading errors.
    4. Procedures for appeal. If you believe you have been graded unfairly you should:

      STEP 1. Discuss the grade, as well as the performance standards expected by the instructor, with the instructor prior to the end of the semester following the one in which the grade was assigned.

      STEP 2. After unsuccessful resolution of the appeal under STEP 1, the student wishing to proceed further must file a written petition with the department chair (or with the Dean of the college or division if the instructor whose grade is being appealed is the department chair).

      1. The written petition shall state:
        1. The course in which the grade was received;
        2. The instructor whose grade is being challenged;
        3. The semester in which the grade was received;
        4. Specific facts showing why the student considers the grade to be arbitrary and capricious;
        5. The relief sought;
        6. The signature, address and local phone of the student.
      2. Upon receipt of the written petition, the department chair (or Dean of the college or division) shall within 10 days:
        1. Serve a copy of the petition upon the instructor whose grade is being appealed, and
        2. Acknowledge receipt of the petition in writing to the student at the address provided by the student.
      3. The student may elect to provide an oral presentation to the authority considering the appeal in addition to the written petition description in section A. above.
      4. The appeal shall be considered pursuant to the appeal guidelines established by the department, which guidelines shall be sent to the student with the acknowledgment letter.
      5. The appeal shall be considered within 15 days after the date of the acknowledgment letter, unless the student consents to a longer time, after good cause has been shown.
      6. The final determination of the department chair (or Dean of the college or division) shall be in writing. It shall state the grounds for the granting or denying of the relief requested by the student. The final determination shall be communicated to the student and the instructor within 10 days following final submission of any evidence to be considered.
    5. Further review of grades.
      1. There is no further direct right of appeal beyond the department under these rules. In their discretion, the Dean of the college or division (unless the original appeal was heard by the Dean), Provost, or Chancellor can grant further review of grades according to substantive guidelines established by them.
      2. No such further review may be requested except to the next higher authority in the University. A request for review shall follow the order set forth in subsection 5a above.
      3. Any request for review shall be by written petition.
        1. The written petition shall comply with the provisions of subsection 4 (STEP 2a) above.
        2. The petition shall state also: reviews already taken in the matter; the decisions in those reviews; why the last decision in that review was arbitrary or capricious.
        3. The petition shall be accompanied by copies of the determinations of each prior appeal or review.
      4. The Dean of the college or division, Provost, or Chancellor may deny the petition for review in his discretion on the basis of the petition and the written record of the previous appeals and reviews, or may grant the petition.
      5. If the petition for review is granted, the Dean of the college or division (unless the original review as heard by the Dean), Provost or Chancellor shall follow the procedural provisions contained within subsection 4 (STEP 2b, c, d, e) above.
    6. Faculty Advisory Committees.
      1. In any appeal or review proceeding under these provisions above the level of instructor, the party charged with deciding the appeal or review may appoint a faculty committee to hold a hearing and/or make recommendations and/or whether to grant a discretionary petition for review.
      2. Any faculty committee so appointed shall consist of both faculty inside and outside the department or college in which the course under review was conducted.
      3. The number of members of a faculty committee shall be in the discretion of the appointing authority, the exercise of which discretion shall not be considered under the standards of arbitrary and capricious contained herein.
      4. Whenever any faculty committee is appointed or whenever such committee makes findings or recommendations pursuant to these rules, the action of the faculty committee must be reviewed by the appointing authority and any decision made pursuant to these rules is to be considered the decision of the appointing authority and not the decision of the faculty committee.
  11. The reporting of grades. At the close of each semester and summer session, the Registrar will provide each student with a report of his/her grades.