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Information about Grades and Grade Types, Grade Point Average (GPA), Reading your Transcript, and Related Information

Information on Grade Types

Incomplete (I) vs. In Progress (IP)

Academic Standing/Status and Academic Probation

Drops and Withdrawals

Deadline for Grade Submissions

Dean's List/Latin Honors

Other Transcript Notations

Here you'll find information and answers to common questions about grading, GPA calculation, transcript issues, and related matters.

Grade Types

American University uses the following grading system for all courses attempted. The University differentiates between courses completed for an A-F grade and for those that are not. Only courses taken for a letter grade (A-F) apply towards a student's grade point average (GPA). Courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis still apply to a student's academic program (e.g. count towards meeting degree requirements) but have no bearing on the student's GPA. Courses taken on a Audit basis are noted on a student's transcript but do not apply to an academic program (i.e. they do not satisfy degree requirements).

Additional information on the grade system is contained in the University's Academic Regulations here:

Grades Calculated in Grade Point Average and their GPA calculation

Letter Grade GPA Comments
A 4.0  
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0 Lowest possible grade to receive credit for SRPs or internships undertaken for research credit
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0 Lowest possible grade to receive credit for a graduate course
C- 1.7  
D 1.0  
F 0.0  
X 0.0 Administrative Failure: The X grade is assigned by the instructor when a student listed on the grade roster never attended or ceased attending the course and assessment of academic performance could not be rendered.

Grades Not Calculated in Grade Point Average

Grade Meaning Comments
I Incomplete Student has not completed requirements and has been given an extension by the faculty member (at most one additional semester) to complete all outstanding course requirements. If an incomplete is not resolved by the set deadline, a default grade (set by the faculty member) will replace the I.
IP In Progress Course in progress: a temporary posting symbol to be reported by a faculty member in lieu of a final grade for an intnerhip, research project, thesis, or dissertation which has not been completed by the conclusion of the semester of registration and for which a final grade is not yet due
P Pass for courses taken Pass/Fail; at the graduate level, equivalent to a grade of B or better
ZF Fail for courses taken Pass/Fail
ZX Fail administrative failure for courses taken Pass/Fail-same as X above
L Audit no credit
ZL Audit Withdrawal  
W Withdrawn Assigned by the Registrar when a student withdraws from a course after the last day of Add/Drop

Calcuating your GPA: You can calculate your GPA using your transcript. Simply multiply the number GPA above by the number of credits in the course (e.g a 3 credit course for which you received a B would be equal to 9) and divide by the number of credits completed (not including any credits taken Pass/Fail. You can also use this handy GPA calculator from Iowa State University (don't input courses, just credits and grades).

What's the Difference between an Incomplete (I) and an In Progress (IP)?

Incompletes can be used for any course, while an In Progress grade can only be used for independently-registered projects (internships, independent studies, etc.).

The biggest difference between the two is that an Incomplete remains in place for a limited period of time, while an In Progress does not.

In giving an incomplete, a faculty member will specify a default grade (i.e. the grade that the student would receive if he/she made no further progress in the course) and a deadline for the incomplete to be resolved. This deadline is at the discretion of the instructor and can be anywhere from one day to one semester after the conclusion of the course. In cases of Spring courses, the faculty member can allow the student's incomplete to run through the end of the Fall semester.

A grade of In Progress signifies that a student is continuing to make progress on a project. It does not have a default deadline and remains in place until the instructor submits a final grade.

Academic Progress/Academic Standing

A graduate student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress and is thus in good academic standing (or good academic status--the two are used interchangeably) if he/she is registered for the current semester and has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, as the University require that students have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to be able graduate from a degree program. If a student is not registered for the current semester, he/she stands to be administratively withdrawn. For more on academic status, click here.

If a student's cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, even if he/she has received credit for all courses attempted, he/she will be placed on Academic Probation.

Courses: Drops and Withdrawals

A drop, which occurs only during the period from the start of preregistration through the end of the Add/Drop Period, signifies that the course has been completely expunged from the student's record, and that there is no transcript notation or any charges associated with the course. It is as if the student was never enrolled in the course. A student can only receive a drop for a course through the end of the Add/Drop Period.* Any course dropped after that is considered to be a withdrawal.

A withdrawal from a course occurs after the end of Add/Drop and is normally available to a student, without any justification required, through the middle of a semester. In those cases, the student receives a grade of W (withdrawn) on his/her transcript for the course (this has no bearing on GPA) and forfeits some or all of the tuition for the course (tuition refund dates and amounts are specified on the Academic Calendar).

*The only exception to this is for skills institutes, for which a student can receive a full drop until the day before the course begins, but only by contacting his/her advisor in writing or via e-mail to request the drop (after the end of Add/Drop). Skills institutes cannot be dropped online after the end of Add/Drop--after this point, all skills institute drop requests must be processed by an academic advisors.

Grade Submission Deadlines

Faculty are expected in most circumstances to submit final grades within 72 hours after the end of a course, or the last day of finals for independent projects. However, if there is a delay on the part of a faculty member in submitting a grade, the student is not penalized--American University bases graduation eligibility and other matters on when students submit work, not when a faculty member submits a grade for the course/project.

As such, students (especially those seeking to graduate for that semester) need to ensure that they submit work by the deadline set by the faculty member or by the end of the semester in question (whichever comes first).

Dean's List and Latin Honors

American University only has Dean's List notations for undergraduate students. Similary, only undergraduate students are eligible to receive Latin Honors (summa, magna, or cum laude) at Commencement.

American University does not maintain class rankings for graduate students.

Other Transcript Notations You Might See

R = Follows grade entry indicating course has been repeated.

N = No grade or invalid grade submitted (assigned by the dean or appropriate administrative officer when an expected final grade has not been received before the grade posting deadline. The dean and the Registrar are expected to secure an appropriate final grade within one semester).

You can get additional information on reading and understanding an AU transcript from the University Registrar's Office.


Last Updated 21 December 2009