Skip to main content
Sign In

Network: Faculty and Staff Resources, News and Events



Uniform Grading Policy

DRAFT 9/15/03

Source: Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research
Prepared by: Associate Vice President For Academic Affairs
Approved by:  
Application: All campuses
Effective Date:  
Replaces: Policy of 1984


The University has had a uniform grading policy since 1974.  The purpose of this policy is:

  1. to encourage students and faculty to create and sustain a positive learning environment;
  2. to create consistency of grading policy across all academic units in the CU system in those areas where such consistency is beneficial to students and to the university;
  3. to maintain faculty control over grading and over the grading policy;
  4. to allow individual campuses, schools, and colleges to have more restrictive grading policies than those in the Uniform Grading Policy when such restrictions are not in conflict with the Uniform Grading Policy; and
  5. to provide some flexibility in grading practices for individual campuses, schools and colleges where reasonable and consistent with the intentions of the Uniform Grading Policy.

The Uniform Grading Policy is found in Part II of this Administrative Policy Statement.  All campuses, schools, and colleges of the University of Colorado are covered by the policy.  Campuses, schools, and colleges may request exceptions to the policies in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Grading Policy.

The Uniform Grading Policy may be revised in accordance with procedures specified in the policy.


The following grading system and procedures for pass/fail registration, dropping and adding courses, and withdrawal from the University of Colorado are standardized for all campuses, schools, and colleges of the university.  Any campus, school, or college may further restrict any subsection of the provisions of this policy.

Grade Symbols

The instructor is responsible for whatever grade symbol (A, B, C, D, F, IW, IF, or IP) is to be assigned.  Special symbols, such as NC, W, and ***, and indications of registration or grade status are not assigned by the instructor but are automatically converted by the grade application system, explained under Special Symbols.

A superior/excellent 4 credit points per credit hour
B good/better than average 3 credit points per credit hour
C competent/average 2 credit points per credit hour
D below average 1 credit point per credit hour
F failing no credit points per credit hour
IW incomplete withdrawal regarded as W if not completed within a maximum of one year
IF incomplete failure regarded as F if not completed within a maximum of one year
IP in progress thesis or multi-semester course at the graduate level only
P/F pass/fail P grade is not included in the grade point average; the F grade is included; up to 16 hours of pass/fail course work may be credited toward a bachelor's degree; any grade above F is regarded as passing
H/P/F honors/pass/fail intended for honors courses; credit hours count toward the degree but are not included in the grade-point average

Plus/Minus Grades

Schools, and colleges may, at their discretion, choose to implement a plus/minus grading system with symbols and points as follows:

  • A = 4.0 points
  • A- = 3.7 points
  • B+ = 3.3 points
  • B = 3.0  points
  • B- =  2.7 points
  • C+  =  2.3 points
  • C   =  2.0 points
  • C-  =  1.7 points
  • D+  =  1.3 points
  • D   =  1.0 points
  • D-  =  0.7 points
  • F   =  0.0 points

Grades are awarded directly by an individual faculty member to an individual student for work done in an individual course.  Therefore, the grade will be entered directly into the student's record precisely as it is awarded by the instructor of record.  Students may appeal grades following established school, college, or campus procedures.

Special Symbols

  • NC   indicates registration on a no-credit basis
  • W    indicates withdrawal or drop without discredit

Explanation of IW and IF

An IW or IF is a grade indicating that work for the course has not been completed.  Policies with respect to IW/IF grades are available in the individual college and school dean's offices.

Pass/Fail Procedure

  1. Any student who wishes to register for a course on a pass/fail basis should do so during regular registration procedures.  (Up to 16 semester hours of regular course work may be taken on a pass/fail basis and credited toward the bachelor's degree.  The number of semester hours of regular course work that may be taken on a pass/fail basis and credited toward a graduate degree is determined by graduate school policy.) Changes to or from a pass/fail basis may be effected only during the period specified in campus policy.
  2. There are more stringent requirements in some colleges and schools.  For example, some colleges or schools may require departmental approval before a student may enroll for any course on a pass/fail basis. (Schools and colleges may choose not to allow pass/fail in any courses.) Students should check with their dean's office to determine requirements.
  3. The record of pass/fail registration is maintained by the Campus Admissions and Records Officer.
  4. Only 6 semester hours of course work may be P/F in any given semester.

Course Forgiveness

Any policy on course forgiveness shall apply only to the campus whose faculty develops and adopts it and shall apply only to the students enrolled on that campus.

Drop/Add Procedure

  1. Students will be allowed to drop and add within a period specified by the campus or its individual schools and colleges.
  2. The add period may be no longer than the first 15% of the academic  term, (as mandated by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.)
  3. Students seeking to add a course after the initial add period must obtain the instructor's permission.
  4. After the initial drop period, the student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to drop.  All courses dropped after the conclusion of the initial drop period appear on the permanent record with the grade of W.
  5. After the 10th week, courses may not be dropped unless there are circumstances clearly beyond the student's control (accident, illness, etc.)  In addition to the instruction's certification (as in 4 above), the student must petition his or her dean's office for approval to drop the course.  Campuses, individual schools and colleges may have further restrictions on this time period.

Withdrawal procedure

In order to withdraw from the University, the student must obtain approval of the academic dean's office and the Office of the Registrar.  Notation is recorded on the student's permanent record.  Students who do not officially withdraw are subject to grades of F for all course work.

Amendments and Exceptions to the Policy

No change in the Uniform Grading Policy shall be adopted unless it meets with the approval of a majority of the schools and colleges.

Any campus, school, or college may request a special grading policy to meet its needs.  (An example is the use of H/P/F at the School of Medicine.) Such a request for exception shall be subject to approval by the Faculty Council, after review by the Educational Policy and University Standards committee (EPUS), and shall apply only to that particular unit.

All changes to the Uniform Grading Policy must be initiated by the faculty of one or more academic units who will vote upon the change.  Such requests for change shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council. The Executive Committee of Faculty Council shall consult the Educational Policy and University Standards committee (EPUS) before  equiring the schools and colleges to conduct a ballot of their faculties regarding the change.   (Faculty within the schools and colleges shall vote in accord with their established policies and procedures.)

Following the positive outcome of such a ballot, the Chair of the Faculty Council shall request the administration to make any necessary revisions in this Administrative Policy Statement.

Review of this policy

This policy should be reviewed on a periodic basis.

Faculty Assembly Office Location

​1380 Lawrence Street Center, 3rd Floor
Campus Box: B137
P.O.Box 173364
Denver, CO 80204 


CU Denver Faculty Assembly Chair

Michael Zinser, PhD
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Phone: 303.315.7048 


CU Anschutz Faculty Assembly Chair

Jacqueline Jones, PhD, BN, RN, FRCNA, FAAN
College of Nursing 
Phone: 303.724.2929​



© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.