Graduate Grading System

In reporting grades for graduate students, graduate degree-offering units shall use the system described herein. Grades shall be entered as numbers, the possible values being 4.0, 3.9,… and decreasing by one-tenth until 1.7 is reached. Grades below 1.7 will be recorded as 0.0 by the Registrar and no credit is earned. A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Graduate Grading Scale

Letter GradeNumber Grade
A4.0 – 3.9
A-3.8 – 3.5
B+3.4 – 3.1
B3.0 – 2.9
B-2.8 – 2.5
C+2.4 – 2.1
C2.0 – 1.7
E1.6 – 0.0

Additional Letter Grades

I Incomplete. An incomplete may be given only when the student has been in attendance, 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.

To obtain credit for the course, a student must successfully complete the work and the instructor must submit a grade. In no case may an incomplete be converted into a passing grade after a lapse of two years or more. An incomplete received by a graduate student does not automatically convert to a grade of 0.0, but will remain a permanent part of the student’s record.

N No grade. Used only for hyphenated courses and courses numbered 600 (Independent Study or Research), 601 (Internship), 700 (Master’s Thesis), 750 (Internship), or 800 (Doctoral Dissertation). An N grade indicates that satisfactory progress is being made, but evaluation depends on completion of the research, thesis, internship, or dissertation, at which time the instructor or supervisory committee chair should change the N grade(s) to one reflecting the final evaluation.

S A graduate student, with the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator or Supervisory Committee Chairperson, may elect to be graded S/NS in any numerically-graded course for which he or she is eligible. If a student does not so elect, then he/she will be graded on a numerical basis. If approval is granted the student must elect the S/NS option either when registering or no later than the end of the seventh week of the quarter. The instructor shall submit a numeric grade to the Registrar, who shall convert grades of 2.7 and above to S and grades lower than 2.7 to NS.

NS Not Satisfactory grade for courses taken on a satisfactory/not-satisfactory basis. A grade less 2.7 for graduate classes is converted to NS. NS is not included in GPA calculations. No credit is awarded for courses in which an NS grade is received.

CR/NC Credit/No Credit. With the approval of the faculty in the academic unit, any course may be designated for grading on the credit/no-credit basis by notice in the appropriate Time Schedule. For such courses, the instructor submits a grade of CR or NC to be recorded by the Registrar’s Office for each student in the course at the end of the quarter. All courses numbered 600, 601, 700, 750, and 800 may be graded with a decimal grade, CR/NC, or N at the instructor’s option.

W Withdrawal. Official withdrawal from a course may be done on MyUW through the second week of the quarter. During the first two weeks of the quarter no entry is made on the permanent academic record. The third week through the seventh week of the quarter, a W, and week designation, is recorded on the transcript.

RD Grade is assigned when a student is allowed to withdraw from a course(s) after the 14th calendar day of the quarter (see Current and Former Drop/Withdraw Policy). It is not computed in GPA calculations.

HW Hardship Withdrawal (through Winter 2020). Grade assigned when a graduate student is allowed a hardship withdrawal from a course after the second week of the quarter.

Unofficial withdrawal from a course shall result in a grade of 0.0.

The grades of NS, W, RD, and HW count neither as completed credits nor in computation of the GPA.

Of the minimum number of credits required for a graduate degree, a graduate student must show numerical grades in at least 18 quarter hours of course work taken at the UW. These numerical grades may be earned in approved 400-level and 500-level courses.

The 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 graduate program coordinator.

Continuation or Termination of Students in the Graduate School

Admission to the Graduate School allows students to continue graduate study and research at the University of Washington, only as long as they maintain satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of their graduate degree program. The definition of satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of the degree program may differ among degree offering units; therefore, it is imperative that each graduate unit has these requirements in writing and distributes them to each graduate student. The following information should be included:

  1. General expectations for graduate student performance, within the academic unit, including, but not limited to, required coursework and length of time allowed for completion of various phases of the program.
  2. The identification of persons in departments, colleges, schools, and groups who are responsible for both the evaluation of graduate student progress and for informing students about the fulfillment of these requirements, and when such evaluations are to be made.
  3. Criteria by which performance and progress are to be evaluated, including areas which may or may not be negotiated.
  4. Under what circumstances the graduate unit will recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School the alteration of a student’s standing-i.e., conditions that warrant warn, probation, and final probation (see Suggested Guidelines for Change of Status Action), and length of time the academic unit will tolerate low scholarship or unsatisfactory performance and progress.
  5. Procedures for appealing evaluations recommended to the Graduate School by the graduate program.

Scholarship – Graduate Level

Review Process for Low Scholarship and unsatisfactory Progress

Review of students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) is at the discretion of the graduate unit and is expected to be undertaken at least annually. Students whose cumulative or quarterly GPA falls below a 3.0 must be reviewed quarterly and be provided with an explanation of performance expectations and a timetable for correction of deficiencies. Doctoral program students are to be reviewed by their doctoral Supervisory Committee, or by a committee of graduate faculty, in the unit appointed or elected for this purpose, in consultation with the student’s Supervisory Committee. Pre- and post-master’s students are to be reviewed by supervisory committees, if such committees have been appointed, or by the graduate faculty members who have been designated to oversee such students’ programs. See Graduate School Memorandum No. 13, Supervisory Committees for Graduate Students, for an explanation of the role and responsibilities of supervisory committees. In evaluating the student’s performance and progress, all of the following should be reviewed:

  1. Grade reports: cumulative and quarterly GPAs computed on those courses taken while the student is enrolled in the University of Washington Graduate School. Computation is based only on courses numbered 400-599; courses graded I, S/NS, and CR/NC are excluded, as are the 600-800 series.
  2. Performance during informal coursework and seminars.
  3. Research capability, progress, and performance.
  4. Any other information relevant to graduate program academic requirements.

A determination of satisfactory performance and progress may be made upon review of the factors indicated above and consideration of the student’s progress relative to other students (part-time/full-time) in the program or to an individually negotiated schedule.

Low Grade Point Average

The Graduate School provides the Graduate Program Coordinator of each degree-offering unit with a quarterly Low Scholarship Report which lists the names of graduate students whose GPAs fall below 3.0 either cumulatively or for that quarter. Instructions and deadlines for completing the review and transmitting the recommendations are provided with the report.

The Graduate Program Coordinator and the graduate faculty who supervise these students are expected to review the status of each student whose name appears on the low scholarship printout and to transmit to the Dean of the Graduate School a specific recommendation-i.e. no action, warn, probation, final probation, or drop-for each case. Final probation and drop recommendations must be accompanied by a statement which describes the student’s academic problems and provides an explanation for the recommended action by the graduate faculty or supervisory committee involved.

Graduate programs deciding that either “no action” or “warn” is the appropriate action to be taken based on the student’s performance, may initiate contact with the student without such action appearing on the student’s permanent record. The Registrar will record only those actions recommending probation, final probation, and drop.

Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress

To determine satisfactory performance or progress, the following criteria should be used:

  1. Performance in the fulfillment of degree program requirements.
  2. Performance during informal coursework and seminars.
  3. Research capability, progress, and achievements.

When review of a student’s performance and progress results in a determination that it has been unsatisfactory, the name of the student and recommendation for action-i.e. warn, probation, final probation, or drop-should be transmitted by the Graduate Program Coordinator or the head of the graduate unit to the Dean of the Graduate School by the appropriate deadline dates. All recommendations of unsatisfactory performance and progress must be accompanied by a well-documented statement of the circumstances involved and evidence that the action requested is supported by the majority of the graduate faculty, delegated representatives, or supervisory committee involved.

Students should receive written notification of this action, which includes information regarding the necessary steps the student must take to maintain their graduate student status in good standing.

Suggested Guidelines for Change of Status Action

Suggested guidelines for determining the action to be recommended for low grade point average or unsatisfactory performance and progress are given below:

No Action
May be recommended for those students whose cumulative GPA is above 3.0, but whose most recent quarter’s work is below 3.0, if the review has determined that this condition is not cause for immediate concern.


  1. May be recommended for those students whose cumulative GPA has dropped slightly below 3.0-i.e. 2.99-2.95
  2. May be recommended for those students who have failed to meet expectations for performance and progress as determined by the graduate program.

Action taken as indicated above will be initiated by the Graduate Program, and reported to the Graduate School, but will not appear on the student’s permanent record. The department is expected to notify each student in writing.


  1. May be recommended for those students who have not corrected the deficiency, which caused the warn action within the time limit specified by the graduate program.
  2. May be recommended for those students who depart suddenly and substantially from scholarly achievement as defined by the graduate program (a previous warn recommendation is not necessary).
  3. Programs may determine the length of probationary status (the Graduate School recommends no less than one quarter and no more that three quarters of probationary status). Students should be informed of the current program policy regarding the length of the probationary period.

Final Probation

  1. May be recommended for those students who have not corrected the condition(s) that caused the probation recommendation within the time limit specified by the graduate program.
  2. May be recommended for those students who fail to progress toward completion of the graduate program. A student will be carried on final probation status for one quarter before being changed to drop, probation, or some other status.

Final action to be recommended. A drop recommendation means immediate drop from the University of Washington. Therefore, this recommendation must be received in the Graduate School soon after the beginning of the quarter following the quarter on which the decision is based.

Recommendations for action on low grade point average or unsatisfactory performance and progress will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School, and students will be informed of a change in status by letter from the Dean.

Students may appeal change of status as explained above, directly to the Chairperson of the graduate degree granting unit. Appeals beyond this point should follow the process outlined in Graduate School Memorandum No. 33, Academic Grievance Procedure.

Please note: Action is taken for one quarter only. No action will appear on the transcript for any subsequent quarter unless a recommendation is made to the Dean.

Academic Grievance Procedure

Graduate students who encounter academic problems related to their academic abilities, but not including evaluation thereof, may seek resolution of their complaints as described below. These policies apply to issues such as faculty, departmental, college or Graduate School policies affecting individual student prerogatives, deviations from stated grading practices (but not individual grade challenges), unfair treatment, and related issues.

Students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran should refer to the Human Rights Grievance Procedure contained in the University of Washington Operations Manual, D 45.5.

Informal Conciliation

The student is encouraged at first to attempt to resolve a grievance with the faculty or staff member(s) most directly concerned. The director or chairperson of the unit also may be asked to conciliate the grievance. If discussion with the faculty or staff member(s) concerned does not resolve the grievance, the student may request the Graduate School to assist in an informal resolution.

If the student is dissatisfied with the informal conciliation, he or she may file a formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Formal Complaint

Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee: The Dean of the Graduate School shall designate an Associate Dean of the Graduate School to chair the Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee. Each year the Dean shall appoint to the Committee five members of the Graduate Faculty and, from a list of ten nominees provided by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, five full-time graduate students who are in good academic standing. This committee will constitute the pool from which the chairperson will appoint panels as needed to provide fair and impartial hearings on formal complaints filed with the Dean of the Graduate School.

A formal grievance will be referred to the chairperson of the Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee who shall, within five working days (hereafter, time limitations are stated in working days) of its receipt, designate two faculty and two student members of the Committee to serve as a Hearing Panel. The Committee chairperson/designee shall act as panel chairperson. The student and the faculty or staff concerned shall each have the right to exercise one preemptory challenge against the Panel designees within five days after notification of the names of the designees. If a challenge is made, the chairperson shall designate another faculty or student member to replace the member challenged. All members of the Panel shall have the right to vote upon any matter that may come before the Panel. No member of the Hearing Panel shall be from the department of any of the parties to the grievance.


When a formal complaint has been filed by a graduate student, the chairperson of the Graduate School Academic Grievance Committee shall distribute a copy of the complaint to each faculty or academic staff person directly involved. The Panel chairperson shall establish a time and place for a hearing to be held no later than 15 days from the date of final determination of the panel membership, unless, for good reason, stated in writing to the complainant and other concerned parties, the Panel chairperson schedules the hearing for a later specified date. The chairperson shall announce the time and place of the hearing to the student, the member(s) of the faculty and staff involved, the dean of the college or school, the chairperson of the department, and all other prospective witnesses. A list of the persons notified will be given to the student and the other individuals directly involved.

Hearings will be conducted in closed session except when and to the extent mutually agreed upon by the student and faculty or staff involved. All parties may present evidence and testimony. Only evidence presented at the hearing will be considered in determining the validity of the complaint. Hearings may be continued from day to day until all evidence has been presented. A written summary of the proceedings will be kept for at least one year and shall include a tape recording of testimony.

Within 15 days after the hearing adjourns, the Panel shall present to the Dean of the Graduate School its report, including findings, conclusions, and recommendations for action. The report will be simultaneously transmitted to the student and to the faculty and staff member(s) concerned.

The Dean of the Graduate School, within 10 days after receipt of the panel report, shall issue his decision as to the action to be taken on the grievance. The Dean’s decision shall include an evaluation of the validity of the grievance and a statement of the action to be taken. Copies of the decision shall be transmitted to the student, the faculty and staff member(s), their chairperson(s), and their deans.

The decision of the Dean shall become final at the close of the seventh day after issuance, unless the student or any other party directly involved files a written request for consideration of the findings by the Provost.


When a request for consideration by the Provost has been received, the Dean of the Graduate School shall transmit to the Provost a copy of the decision issued by him, together with the documentation, transcripts or tape recordings of testimony, and other information relevant to the grievance.

The Provost shall examine the record and determine that either:

  1. There are no procedural irregularities and the decision is fair, in which case he will reject the request, thereby making the decision of the Dean immediately final; or
  2. The record reflects some basis for reconsideration, in which case he will remand the matter to the Dean of the Graduate School for appropriate action.

The Provost shall notify the student and the Dean of the Graduate School of his finding within 10 days after receipt of the student’s request.