Policies and Procedures


Numerical Grades

Graduate degree-offering units use the following system in reporting grades. Grades are entered as numbers, the possible values beginning at 4.0 and decreasing by one-tenth until 1.7 is reached. Grades below 1.7 will be recorded as 0.0 by the Registrar and will not count toward residency, total credit count, or grade and credit requirements. IMPORTANT: A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree. A minimum final GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Although letter grades are not officially used at the University of Washington, correspondence between number grades and letter grades is as follows:

Numeric Grade Point Equivalent Letter Grade

4.0-3.9 A
3.8-3.5 A–
3.4-3.1 B+
3.0-2.9 B
2.8-2.5 B–
2.4-2.1 C+
2.0-1.7 C
1.6-0.0 F

Other Grades

The following letter grades may also be used:


An incomplete may be given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control. A written statement giving the reason for the Incomplete and indicating the work required to remove it must be filed by the instructor with the head of the unit in which the course is offered. To obtain credit for the course, a student must convert an Incomplete into a passing grade by the last day of the next quarter in residence. This rule may be waived by the dean of the school or college in which the course is offered. In no case may an Incomplete be converted into a passing grade after a lapse of 2 years or more.


Used only for hyphenated courses (BPOLST 506 508) and courses numbered 598 (Directed Research and Research). An “N” grade indicates that satisfactory progress is being made, but evaluation depends on completion of the research or degree project, at which time the instructor or Supervisory Committee Chairperson should change the N grades(s) to one reflecting the final evaluation.


With the approval of the IAS Graduate Program Manager or supervisor committee chair, a graduate student may elect to be graded S/NS in any numerically-graded course for which he or she is eligible. Only in very unusual circumstances may S/NS be converted to numeric grades or vice-versa. The instructor will submit a numeric grade to the Registrar's Office for conversion to S (numerical grades of 2.7 or above) or NS (numeric grades lower than 2.7). Core and Restricted Elective (10 required BPOLST elective credits) courses may not be taken S/NS.


With the approval of the faculty in the academic unit, any course may be designated for grading on the CR/NC basis by notice in the appropriate Time Schedule. For such courses, the instructor will submit a grade of CR or NC to be recorded by the Registrar's Office for each student in the class at the end of the quarter. All courses numbered 600, 601, 700, 750, and 800 may be graded with a decimal grade, a CR/NC or N at the instructor's option.


Official withdrawal from a course during the first ten class days of a quarter will not be entered on the permanent academic record. Students may withdraw from a course only during the first ten class days of a quarter. (Exception: Each student will be permitted to drop one course between the beginning of Week 3 and the end of Week 7 of any one quarter each year (September-August). A grade of W will be recorded.

Unofficial withdrawal (failing to attend class without withdrawing on MyUW or in person) from a course will result in a grade of 0.0. The grade W will count neither as completed credits nor in the computation of grade-point average.

* Of the minimum credits required for a graduate degree, the Graduate School requires that all graduate students show numerical grades in at least 18 quarter credits of course work taken at the University of Washington. These numerical grades may be earned in approved 400-level courses and 500-level courses. A graduate student's grade-point average will be calculated entirely on the basis of numerical grades in the 400- and 500-level courses. The grades of S, NS, CR, NC, and N will be excluded, as will all grades in courses numbered 600, and in 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses. The graduate student may petition the Dean of the Graduate School to modify the procedures described above. The petition should be accompanied by comments and recommendations from the IAS Graduate Program Manager.

For more details on grades, visit the UW Graduate School's page Grading System for Graduate Students.

Degree Honors

Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude are honors for Bachelor’s Degrees, not Master’s Degrees or Doctorates. These honors do not apply for Graduate Students.