The Catholic University of America

Archived 08/22/05

Grades and Academic Standing (Graduate Studies)

Change of Grade

A grade assigned for work in course is not subject to change except (a) in the case of a specific error, which may be corrected upon the request of the teacher of the course, in writing, to the dean not later than one month after the beginning of the succeeding semester, or (b) in the case of a successful challenge to a failing grade (F) after action in accordance with the established university procedures. A successfully challenged grade of F is changed to pass (P), and credit is given for the work in question; no other grade may be assigned. All changes in transcript information must be requested and approved by the end of the semester following registration and grading of a particular course.


An undergraduate student is no longer in good academic standing, and therefore subject to dismissal by the dean of a school, who:

  1. receives a failing grade (F) in three or more credit-bearing courses undertaken in a semester; (Reversion of an I (incomplete grade) to an F shall be included in the total number of failures for the semester in which the I was given, with possible dismissal effective at the close of the current semester.) or
  2. at the end of any academic year has a cumulative average of less than 1.5; or
  3. fails to satisfy any additional requirements that may be imposed by individual schools; or
  4. fails to gain acceptance into a program of concentration or specialized studies following a fourth semester of full-time college work; special exception may be made for students who change concentrations in their sophomore year.

A graduate student who receives two or more failing grades in formal course work after being admitted to graduate study is subject to academic dismissal, as are graduate students who fail to meet additional or more rigorous academic standards imposed by individual departments or schools. Graduate students are directed to consult their school or department for such standards.

The university reserves the right to review the record of a student at any time for the purpose of determining whether a student meets the standards necessary for graduation. If, in the opinion of the university, this review reveals serious shortcomings, the student may be dismissed.

Academic dismissal is made by the dean of a school upon recommendation of the faculty or department.

Good Standing

A student is considered to be in good standing who (a) has not become subject to dismissal for academic reasons, (b) has a satisfactory record of conduct, and (c) has met all financial obligations to the university or made satisfactory arrangements for their discharge with the Office of Student Accounts.

In order to ascertain whether an undergraduate student's academic advancement in those qualities of scholarship considered necessary for a liberal education is satisfactory, the student's records may be reviewed periodically by appropriate university officials in accordance with the university's policy on student records. Serious shortcomings in academic progress may indicate the necessity for the student to withdraw from the university or to be dismissed.

Grading System

Reports of grades assigned for work in course are made available on the Web ( by the registrar at the end of each term. Graduate students are graded under the following system:



Numerical Equivalent














Passing but Marginal












Administrative Failure

By resolution of the Academic Senate, grade point averages are calculated for all graduate students having entered the university in the 1996 fall semester or after. Only grades earned in courses at and above the 500 level will be calculated.

For satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree, each student should consult school or department regulations which may specify a maximum number of C grades, depending on the nature of the courses, permitted in a degree program.

At the end of each semester, the chair of each department may submit to the dean a report stating the names of students who, in the judgment of the department, should not continue studies for advanced degrees. Such students are so notified by the dean and advised or directed to discontinue graduate work. The admission to graduate studies or to candidacy for the doctorate may be withdrawn by the dean.

Incomplete Grades

The provisional grade of I (incomplete) may be given only to a student who has not completed the requirements of a course for legitimate reasons, provided the work thus far completed in the course is of passing quality. The grade of I may not be given to one who has simply failed to meet the academic requirements of the course on time. An instructor must have the permission of the dean to give a grade of I.

Incomplete grades must be removed before the midsemester of the succeeding term, whether or not the student continues in residence. If the incomplete is not removed by the midsemester, the incomplete will be recorded as a grade of F (failure).

Under extraordinary circumstances, but before the date of the midsemester following the reported incomplete, a student may petition the instructor of the course and the academic dean of the school in which the student is enrolled for an extension of the period normally allowed for removal of the incomplete.

Unethical Practices

A student who is involved in unethical practices in connection with any work required for a course may receive a grade of F (Failure) for the course. The same rule is applicable to comprehensive examinations. Further penalties may be imposed in accordance with specific circumstances.

It is strictly prohibited, as an unethical practice, to submit as one's own work term papers, research, or professional papers or dissertations in which material provided by a professional research agency or by other persons is utilized. A graduate student who receives such assistance or engages in other unethical practices in the research or writing of a thesis or dissertation shall be liable to expulsion from the university upon proper hearing by the department or school and dean.

Note: The operative words in the preceding regulation are "as one's own work." Whether the material comes from a professional research agency or a ghost writer or simply is plagiarized, its submission as one's own work is unethical. On the other hand, if due acknowledgment is given, for example, to statistical or printed sources, the practice is ethical. It then will be for the faculty to judge, by contemporary standards, whether there is sufficient original work to justify accepting the paper or dissertation.