Grading and the Grading System

Either a letter grade or status report is assigned each semester for every course for which a student is registered after the second week of classes. Students can view their grades on SOLAR.

The term "letter grade" refers to A through F and in certain circumstances to S grades.

All courses used to meet Diversified Education Curriculum requirements and courses used to meet major requirements, including, in engineering majors, the technical electives, must be taken for a letter grade. Students should consult the "Requirements for the Major" section of their major for any exceptions to this policy.

Final grades appearing on a student's academic record cannot be changed after one calendar year from the start of the term in which the grade was assigned. Exceptions may be made if the instructor is on leave in the term following the one in which the grade is assigned or if the student is on leave because of disabling illness in that term. Grade changes are done in conjunction with the instructor, the department, and the Dean, and then sent to the Registrar’s Office for posting. A final grade cannot be changed on the basis of work completed after a term has ended. Final grades appearing on a student's academic record at the time of graduation cannot be changed to any other grade subsequent to receiving a degree. Requests for changes to an undergraduate academic record after the degree has been officially granted will be considered only under exceptional circumstances within six months of the conferral.


(superior work)
B (good work)
C (Satisfactory work)
D (minimum passing credit)
F (Failing work)
I (Incomplete)
NC (No Credit)
NR (No Record)
P (Pass)
Q (Academic dishonesty)
R (Pending completion of
second semester of a year-long course)
S (Satisfactory work)
U (Unsatisfactory work)
W (Withdrawal)

Graded/Pass/No Credit Option (GPNC)

Within the specific limits noted below, a student may elect to have the final grade in any course recorded on the official academic record as the grade as assigned by the instructor, a P (Pass) or as NC (No Credit) if the reported letter grade is F. Neither P nor NC is calculated into the grade point average (g.p.a.). Students may elect this option through the ninth week of classes.

Note: Most graduate and professional schools require that prerequisite courses be taken for a letter grade and many can interpret NC grades as being equivalent to a grade of F, and a grade of P as equivalent to a D. Students should consult the appropriate pre-professional or departmental advisors regarding the implications of electing the GPNC option.

Note: Students must remain in compliance with Federal and State Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines. To avoid impacking Financial Aid or TAP awards, questions should be directed to Financial Aid or Registrar's Office (for TAP).

The following provisions reflect the intent of this option, which is to encourage students to explore other and sometimes less familiar areas of study. 

  1. The GPNC process requires students to select a threshold letter grade as the minimum acceptable grade for the course. If a student should achieve his/her minimum grade or higher, the achieved grade will be the final reported grade on the transcript and will be factored into the GPA. If a student should achieve a grade less than the threshold but higher than F, the final reported grade on the transcript will be P (Pass). If a student fails the course, the final reported grade on the transcript will be NC (No Credit).
  2. Courses graded P or NC cannot be used to satisfy D.E.C. (general education) requirements, but may be used to satisfy the university upper-division credit requirement.
  3. Election of the GPNC option must be completed before the end of the ninth week of the semester as specified in the academic calendar at After the date specified in the academic calendar, no changes either to or from the GPNC option may be made. Students may not petition to change a course to letter-graded after the deadline for changing courses to or from the GPNC option has passed.
  4. The GPNC option may be elected only once for a given course. The GPNC option may be elected more than once per course (but only once per distinct course topic) in courses designated as repeatable for credit. See link for more information on repeatable courses.
  5. Students may elect the GPNC option for no more than one course per term.
  6. The Registrar does not communicate to the instructor of a course the names of students who elect the GPNC option.
  7. Courses for which the grade of P or NC is recorded are not considered among the minimum of 12 credits required for a student to be on the Dean's List.
  8. Majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the School of Journalism have specific restrictions on the use of the GPNC option to satisfy their requirements. Refer to the specific major or minor requirements in the "Approved Majors, Minors, and Programs" chapter of this Bulletin for details. Students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences may not take any courses in the major, including technical electives, under the GPNC option. Only Open Electives may be taken under the GPNC option.
  9. Certain courses may not be taken under the GPNC option, such as developmental courses, or courses with special grading bases such as S/U, or ABC/U. Courses not available for the GPNC option are noted in the Bulletin course descriptions and/or here.

See also "Limits on Course Credits and Grading Options."

Satisfactory/UnSatisfactory (S/U)

Some courses are designated as S/U grading and students will not receive a letter grade (A through F) for them. Students may not elect to take such courses under the GPNC option.

S/U grading is not calculated into the grade point average (g.p.a.). Courses with S/U grading are counted among the 100 credits required for the degree that must be taken for a letter grade. They also apply to the criteria for Dean's List.

Withdrawal (W)

A mark of W is recorded when the student withdraws from a course after the first ten days of classes. The W is used to indicate that the student withdrew after the end of the add/drop period. The W is not calculated into the grade point average (g.p.a.).

Grade Point Average (g.p.a.)

For the purpose of determining grade point average, grades are assigned point values as follows:

A    4.00

B-   2.67

D+   1.33

A-   3.67

C+   2.33

D    1.00

B+   3.33

C    2.00

F    0.00

B     3.00

C-   1.67

Q    0.00

Calculate the Quality Points for each course by multiplying the Point value of the grade by the total number of Credits for the course:

















































The following grades are not calculated into the g.p.a.: P, NC, NR, R, S, U, W

Grades for courses transferred from other institutions do not affect the grade point average. Grades earned in developmental courses are not calculated in the cumulative g.p.a., but are included in the term g.p.a., Dean’s List and academic standing calculations. 

Limits on Course Credits and Grading Options

There are limits on the number of credits from certain courses that can be applied toward the baccalaureate degree. Listed below are the maximum numbers of credits that can be applied toward the total number of credits required for a degree:

Independent study (30 credits): courses with numbers 273, 287, 444-449, 484-489, 499

Internships (12 credits): of which no more than 6 credits may be EXT 288

Activity-related courses (9 credits): AFS 283, LHD 307, LHD 308, PSY 283

Undergraduate teaching practica (6 credits)

Specific Course Limitations for degrees:

For the courses listed below, there is a limit on how many credits may be applied to specific degrees. For the B.A. candidate, the limit is 30 credits; B.S. candidates 60 credits; B.E. candidates 90 credits.

The limited courses are ARS 154; BUS 210, BUS 214, BUS 348; MUS individual instrument or voice instruction courses; student teaching courses numbered 449, 450, 451, 452, and 454; THR 244, THR 295, THR 296, THR 301-307, THR 340; BME, CME, ESE, ESG, ESM, and MEC courses; HAD, HAN, HAS, HBA, HBM, HDH, HDO, HDP, HNI courses; HWC fieldwork courses

Credits by approved examinations (30 credits): Approved examination programs are Advanced Placement examinations, College Level Examination Program subject examination, Regents College examinations, Stony Brook Challenge examination

Graduate courses (6 credits)

Developmental coursesAIM 102, MAP 101, and MAP 103 are developmental courses

Repeated courses: Courses may not be repeated for credit unless specifically noted as repeatable in the Undergraduate Bulletin course description. See the entries “Retaking Courses” and “Repeatable Courses” for more information.

Restrictions on Credits Earned with a Grade of P: At least 100 credits of the 120 credits required for the baccalaureate degree must be passed with a letter grade (A through D or S).