Undergraduate Bulletin Grade Definitions and Policies
These policies apply to all students past and present, effective Fall 2017.
The undergraduate grading system for the University will include the following grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E. Grades reflect the level of student achievement on student learning outcomes and standards presented to students at the beginning of a course in a syllabus. Students are encouraged to seek timely, formative, feedback during a course so they can gauge their progress and have an opportunity to improve their performance before receiving a final, summative grade. Once final grades are submitted they will not be removed from the student’s permanent academic record and will only be amended according to grade change and appeals processes/timelines. For this reason, students should check their grades via MyUAlbany as soon as they are posted to determine if there are any discrepancies.
The normative grading pattern is A–E. However, students may receive S/U grades in two circumstances:
- In sections and/or courses that have been designated by departments or schools as S/U graded
- In courses normally graded A–E in which the student selects S/U grading
Students are limited to receiving S/U opted grades only twice in their undergraduate academic career. Only courses below the 300 level may be S/U opted. These two courses of S/U may be in addition to all S/U grades received in department or school-designated S/U graded sections of courses. See also “Grading Option Deadline,” below.
A–E grades are defined as follows: A–Excellent, B–Good, C–Fair, D–Poor, and E–Failure. The grade of E is a failing grade and cannot be used to fulfill graduation requirements. The grade of S is defined as equivalent to the grade of C or higher and is acceptable to fulfill graduation requirements. The grade of U (C- or lower) is unsatisfactory and is not acceptable to fulfill graduation requirements.
Other Grades and Indicators
Additionally, the following grades and indicators may be assigned.
Incomplete Grade Policy (amended effective Fall 2020 and will apply to all undergraduate Incompletes issued Fall 2020 and thereafter)
I: Incomplete. A grade of I is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the instructor when a student has been unable to complete a class for reasons which are considered to be extenuating and beyond the student's control. These reasons must be documented at the time of the request. Incomplete grades do not count toward graduation.
Undergraduate students taking graduate level classes will be subject to the Graduate Incomplete Policy for the graduate class.
Incomplete grades should ONLY be assigned:
1. When a student makes a direct request to the instructor;
2. The student's work to date is passing;
3. An illness or other extenuating circumstance prevents completion of required work by the due date;
4. Required work may reasonably be completed in an agreed-upon period (not to exceed the maximum allowable time for the completion of work as stated in the Timeline for Incomplete Grades), and does not require the student to retake any portion of the class.
If all of the above four criteria are not met, the student should be graded according to the work completed for the class, even if this means recording a failing grade.
Students and instructors should be mindful that making up work can be extremely difficult given the workload of a new semester.
Incomplete grades should NOT be assigned:
• To students who do not make a direct request to the instructor
• As a substitute for a failing grade
• Where the student's performance to date clearly indicates an inability to complete the class as defined in the original syllabus
• If the student did not attend or stopped attending
• As a means of allowing a student to raise their grade by completing additional work not assigned to other students
• If re-enrollment is required for successful completion of the class
Timeline for Incomplete Grades
The maximum allowable time for the completion of work related to an Incomplete is:
• Fall and Winter: convert to failing grades in April of the following Spring semester – dates and deadlines to be communicated by the Registrar’s office
• Spring and Summer: convert to failing grades in November of the following Fall semester – dates and deadlines to be communicated by the Registrar’s office
Dates and deadlines will be listed on the Academic Calendar and communicated by the Registrar’s Office.
Instructors may require that work be completed in advance of the deadline.
Questions about incomplete grades should be addressed to the instructor. If an incomplete grade is agreed upon, the instructor is responsible for entering the incomplete grade in the grade roster during final grading, as well as changing the grade to a final grade by the incomplete grade deadline. See Guidelines for Instructors for more information on entering and changing grades. If an instructor is no longer available, the chair of the department or dean of the school/college, in which the class was offered, is authorized to supervise completion of the work and to submit the appropriate grade change request.
Any grade of I existing after the stated deadline shall be automatically changed to E or U according to whether or not the student is enrolled for A–E or S/U grading. Except for extenuating circumstances approved by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, these converted grades may not be later changed.
(NOTE: Students receiving financial assistance through state awards should refer to Academic Criteria for State Awards in the expenses and financial aid section of this bulletin before requesting grades of I.)
N: Noncredit. No graduation credit. An indicator assigned when a student formally audits a course.
W: An indicator assigned when a student withdraws from the University, or drops a course after the last day to add. For information and completeness, the W is placed on the permanent academic record. The W is non-punitive and is not used in any computation of quality point or cumulative average totals. The W affords a student the opportunity to leave a class, without a grade (whether passing or failing). The W will not be removed from a student’s academic record.
Z: An indicator assigned by the appropriate administrative officer indicating a student enrolled in a course, never attended or failed to attend after the last day to add, and took no official action to drop the course. For information and completeness, the Z is placed on the permanent academic record. The Z is not used in any computation of quality point or cumulative average totals. The Z will not be removed from a student’s academic record.
Grades are available to students via MyUAlbany. Students should review their grades in a timely manner and contact their instructors regarding any perceived discrepancies.
Timeline for Grade Changes
Grade changes will only be accepted as follows:
- Fall semester grades: accepted through the last class day of the subsequent Spring semester
- Winter term grades: accepted through the last class day of the subsequent Summer term
- Spring semester grades: accepted through the last class day of the subsequent Fall semester
- Summer term grades: accepted through the last class day of the subsequent Winter term
Requests for grade changes should begin with the instructor of record. The instructor of record has the authority and responsibility to assign, or change, a grade because of their unique position to evaluate a student’s performance. The Chair of an academic department may request a grade change on the student’s behalf when the instructor of record is not available to do so in a reasonable timeframe, or when the instructor of record has assigned or changed a grade based on inappropriate factors, or in exceptional circumstances involving administrative review of a grade. The request must be fully explained and justified.
Academic Dismissal Appeals: anticipated or actual grade changes must be reported to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education’s Office during the academic dismissal appeal period. Grade changes submitted once classes begin will not overturn a dismissal for that semester.
Once a degree is awarded, grades will only be changed according to the Timeline for Grade Changes.
Examples of appropriate reasons for grade corrections or changes include, but are not limited to:
- Demonstrable arithmetic, editing, or factual error in calculating the grade
- Omission of assignments or parts of assignments in calculating the grade
- A grade demonstrably based on impermissible factors unrelated to student performance, such as discrimination, bias, retaliation or retribution
Examples of inappropriate reasons for grade changes include, but are not limited to:
- Submission of additional work to be reexamined for the purpose of improving grades after the course has been completed
- Saving a student from some academic penalty such as dismissal, probation, warning, or academic integrity problem
- Enabling a student to graduate
- Enabling a student to maintain academic eligibility for financial aid.
- Enabling a student to graduate with academic honors, or meet some other established minima
- Personal issues unrelated to academics
- Enabling a student to maintain academic eligibility for athletics or any other co- curricular activity
- Managing enrollment levels in order to preserve programs or revenue, or to increase retention rates
The Registrar’s Office is responsible for processing all grade changes. In order for a student to receive a change of grade, an electronic grade change form must be completed by the instructor of record of the course. If an error is made in the submission of the form, it will be returned to the department by the Registrar’s Office for correction and resubmission. Other than for conversion of grades from Incomplete (I) to an appropriate final grade, all proposed corrective undergraduate grade changes, with rationale provided, must be approved by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (or designee) before the Registrar (or designee) may record them. A grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E, S, or U may not be changed to a grade of I. Grade changes can be viewed by students via MyUAlbany once they have been processed.
On a case-by-case basis and for good cause, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education continues to have the authority to allow grade changes for reasons deemed legitimate.
Each school/college is required to have on file procedures for resolving academic grievances related to improper grading practices (e.g., complaints of arbitrary, capricious, or improper actions related to grading). Additional information can be found under Procedures for Resolving Academic Grievances.
Grading Option Deadline
Students may change their option (A–E or S/U) for courses not departmentally designated for S/U grading until 15 class days after the midterm point. Changes in grading selections cannot be authorized beyond the date specified. The grading option may be changed by filing the appropriate form with the Registrar’s Office by the date specified in the academic calendar. When discussing with an instructor their progress in a course, students should inform the instructor if they are taking the course S/U.