APS #1025


Uniform Grading Policy

Brief Description

This APS outlines the University of Colorado’s commitment to a uniform grading policy – a policy to be followed by all campuses.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
Uniform Grading Policy
APS Number: 
Effective Date: 
July 1, 2014
Approved By: 
President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Policy Contact: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
January 17, 2013
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
July 1, 2014
Applies to: 
All campuses

I. Introduction

The University has had a uniform grading policy since 1974. The purposes of this policy are:

  1. to encourage students and faculty to create and sustain a positive learning environment;
  2. to create consistency of grading policy across all academic units in the CU system in those areas where such consistency is beneficial to students and to the university;
  3. to maintain faculty control over grading and over the grading policy;
  4. to allow individual campuses, schools, and colleges to have more restrictive grading policies than those in the Uniform Grading Policy when such restrictions are not in conflict with the Uniform Grading Policy; and
  5. to provide some flexibility in grading practices for individual campuses, schools and colleges where reasonable and consistent with the intentions of the Uniform Grading Policy.

    The Uniform Grading Policy is found in Part II of this Administrative Policy Statement. All campuses, schools, and colleges of the University of Colorado are covered by the policy. Campuses, schools, and colleges may request exceptions to the policies in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Grading Policy.

    The Uniform Grading Policy may be revised in accordance with procedures specified in the policy.

II.  Policy Statement

The following grading system and procedures for pass/fail registration, dropping and adding courses, and withdrawal from the University of Colorado are standardized for all campuses, schools, and colleges of the university. Any campus, school, or college may further restrict any subsection of the provisions of this policy.

     Grade Symbols

The instructor is responsible for whatever grade symbol (A, B, C, D, F, I, or IP) is to be assigned. Special symbols, such as NC, W, and ***, and indications of registration or grade status are not assigned by the instructor but are automatically converted by the grade application system, explained under Special Symbols.



4 credit points per credit hour


good/better than average

3 credit points per credit hour



2 credit points per credit hour


below average

1 credit point per credit hour



no credit points per credit hour



regarded as F if not completed within a maximum of one year


in progress

thesis or multi-semester course at the graduate level only



P grade is not included in the grade point average; the F grade is included; any grade above F is regarded as passing
H/P/F honors/pass/fail - intended for honors courses; credit hours count toward the degree but are not included in the grade-point average

     Plus/Minus Grades

Schools and colleges may, at their discretion, choose to implement a plus/minus grading system with symbols and points as follows:


4.0 points


3.7 points


3.3 points


3.0 points


2.7 points


2.3 points


2.0 points


1.7 points


1.3 points


1.0 points


0.7 points


0.0 points

Grades are awarded directly by an individual faculty member to an individual student for work done in an individual course. Therefore, the grade will be entered directly into the student's record precisely as it is awarded by the instructor of record. Students may appeal grades following established school, college, or campus procedures.

     Special Symbols

NC indicates registration on a no-credit basis
W indicates withdrawal without discredit
*** indicates grades have not been received at the time grades are processed

     Explanation of Grading Symbol I

An I is a grade indicating that work for the course has not been completed. Policies with respect to I grades are available in the individual college and school deans' offices.

     Pass/Fail Procedure

  1. A student who wishes to register for a course on a pass/fail basis should do so during regular registration period. A student may change a course to or from a pass/fail basis only during the period specified in campus policy.
  2. A student may take a maximum of six hours of course work on a pass/fail basis in any given semester, unless otherwise specified by the school or college.
  3. A student may take a maximum of 16 semester hours of regular course work on a pass/fail basis for credit toward a bachelor's degree. The number of hours that may be taken on a pass/fail basis and credited toward a graduate degree is determined by graduate school policy.  However, for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, schools and colleges may have additional requirements and may allow fewer pass/fail credit hours.  The curriculum for an individual program or major may further limit allowable pass/fail hours.
  4. Students should check with their academic advisors and degree audit information  to determine the availability of pass/fail grading.
  5. The record of pass/fail registration is maintained by the Registrar’s office in the student information system.

     Course Forgiveness/Repetition

Any policy on course forgiveness/repetition shall apply only to the campus whose faculty develops and adopts it and shall apply only to the students enrolled on that campus.

     Drop/Add Procedure

  1. Students will be allowed to drop and add within a period specified by the campus or its individual schools and colleges.
  2. The add period may be no longer than the first 15% of the academic term, (as mandated by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.)
  3. Students seeking to add a course after the initial add period must obtain the instructor's permission.
  4. After the initial drop period, the student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to drop. All courses dropped after the conclusion of the initial drop period appear on the permanent record with the grade of W.
  5. After the 10th week, courses may not be dropped unless there are circumstances clearly beyond the student's control (accident, illness, etc.) In addition to the instructor's certification (as in 4 above), the student must petition his or her dean's office for approval to drop the course. Campuses, individual schools and colleges may have further restrictions on this time period.

     Withdrawal Procedure

In order to withdraw from the University, the student must obtain approval of the academic dean's office and the Office of the Registrar. Notation is recorded on the student's permanent record. Students who do not officially withdraw are subject to grades of F for all course work.

     Amendments and Exceptions to the Policy

No change in the Uniform Grading Policy shall be adopted unless it meets with the approval of the voting faculty within 60% of the schools and colleges.

Any campus, school, or college may request a special grading policy to meet its needs. (An example is the use of H/HP/P/PR/F at the School of Medicine; H = honors, HP = high pass, P = pass, PR = pass with remediation, F = fail.) Such a request for exception shall be subject to approval by the Faculty Council, after review by the Educational Policy and University Standards committee (EPUS), and shall apply only to that particular unit.

All changes to the Uniform Grading Policy must be initiated by the faculty of one or more academic units who will vote upon the change. Such requests for change shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council; the Executive Committee of Faculty Council shall consult the Educational Policy and University Standards committee (EPUS) before requiring the schools and colleges to conduct a ballot of their faculties regarding the change. (Faculty within the schools and colleges shall vote in accord with their established policies and procedures.) Following the positive outcome of such a ballot, the Chair of the Faculty Council shall request the administration to make any necessary revisions in this Administrative Policy Statement.

III.  History

  • Revised - July 1, 2014 replaces the January 17, 2013 version.
  • January 17, 2013 replaces the 1974, 1984, 1993, 2004, and 2009 documents entitled “Uniform Grading System.”
  • The School of Medicine proposed an extension to their exception to the grading symbols to include H/HP/P/PR/F.  This proposal was approved by the Faculty Council with an effective date of April 1, 2009. 

IV.  Key Words

Uniform grading, pass/fail