Undergraduate Student Handbook
Johns Hopkins University


Grading Policies

Letter GradesFreshman First-Semester PolicySatisfactory/UnsatisfactoyIncomplete GradesChanging a GradeRetaking a Course Dean's List

Grades are submitted to the Registrar at the end of the semester. Grades can be viewed online by students using their JHED account and password. Parents may be authorized to view grades is ISIS with permission from the student.

Parents are informed when students are in serious academic difficulty so that they may work with the university to help the student to improve academic performance. Parents are notified when a student is placed on academic probation or is dismissed for academic reasons.

Undergraduates who are financially independent may file a notarized statement of financial independence with the Registrar. This action assures that grades and notification will not be released to parents without the student’s consent.

Letter Grades and Grade Point Average [Top]
Each letter grade corresponds to a numerical grade point equivalent to allow the computation of a grade point average. The letter grades and their grade point equivalents are as follows:
Grade Performance GPA Points
A+ Excellent 4.0
A Excellent 4.0
A– Excellent 3.7
B+ Good 3.3
B Good 3.0
B– Good 2.7
C+ Satisfactory 2.3
C Satisfactory 2.0
C– Satisfactory 1.7
D+ Passing 1.3
D Passing 1.0
F Failure 0.0
S* Satisfactory completion n/a
U* Unsatisfactory n/a

*S and U grades have no grade point equivalents and do not affect the grade point average.

For first-semester freshmen
S C- or above (credit earned)
U D or F (credit earned for D only)

For all other undergraduates
S C- or above (credit earned)
U D or F (no credit earned

Other marks are used in special circumstances as follows:
I Incomplete
MR missing grade roster
MT Multi-term
ND Not officially dropped
R Course repeated
W Official withdrawal
X No grade reported by instructor

Grade Points and Grade Point Average [Top]
To determine the grade point average, multiply the grade point equivalent by the number of credits for the course. Add the products (grade points earned), then divide the total by the number of credits in the computation.

A Sample Calculation of a Grade Point Average
Grade Credit Grade Point Equivalent Grade Points Earned
A- 4 3.7 14.8
B 3 3.0 9.0
B- 3 2.7 8.1
C+ 3 2.3 6.9
Total =13 38.8
GPA = 38.8/13 = 2.98

Freshman First-Semester Grading Policy [Top]
Covered Grades
The letter grades earned by students in their first semester at the university are not reported on the transcript. Each course that was passed with a grade of C- or above is assigned the letter S (for Satisfactory) in place of a grade. These courses can be used to satisfy requirements for the major, for distribution, and for the writing requirement. Letter grades of D and D+ are assigned the grade UCR (for Unsatisfactory with Credit). Letter grades of F are assigned the grade of U (for Unsatisfactory, no credit earned). First semester courses that receive UCR grades and credits may be used to meet distribution requirements.

Transcript of First Semester Grades
All courses appear on the student’s permanent academic records. First-year students are assigned letter grades (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-,D+, D, or F) by the professor for each course taken. The letter grades are not entered on the official transcript; rather, they are represented by the S, UCR or U values described above. The actual grades are said to be “covered” by the S/U grades.

No first-semester grades are included in a student’s cumulative grade-point average. However, an internal GPA is used by the advising offices and faculty advisors to determine that a student has made satisfactory academic progress during the first semester.

A transcript of first semester grades is not released outside the university. Faculty members may not release a student’s first semester grades. If a first-year student applies to transfer from the university in the spring term, before spring grades have been recorded, the student’s advising office can approve release of the actual first semester grades directly to the transfer institution. Once grades from the spring term or additional semesters have been added to the record, the covered grades will not be released.

Students who are applying for or renewing a scholarship may request a letter from their academic advising office stating whether the first semester grades meet the requirements for the scholarship. Students who can demonstrate that failure to release covered grades will prevent them from applying for scholarships or verifying eligibility for scholarships may request that their advising office approve release of the grades. A letter from the scholarship granting institution must state that the application cannot be considered without the actual grades.

Student’s Access to First Semester Grades
It is very important that students know what grades they have received in their first semester. All students should meet with their faculty advisors to discuss their academic performance in the first semester. Grade information is also available through the ISIS for Students application.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grades
(other than first-semester grading policy described above)

Beginning with the second semester of the first year, undergraduates may select one course each semester and summer at JHU to take for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Students indicate their S/U choice on an add/drop form. AS students need the Advising Office approval for courses within their major or writing intensive courses. EN students need approval from the faculty advisor. Course instructors are unaware of which students in a class are registered for S/U credit. They submit letter grades to the Registrar for all students in their course.

Students must decide whether to take a course on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis by the end of the eighth week of the semester. This deadline applies to all courses, even those which may not have any graded work assigned or returned before the end of the eighth week.

S/U grades have no effect on a student’s grade point average. On the academic transcript, students who earn a grade of C- or above in an S/U course receive Satisfactory credit and a mark of S is entered on the academic record. Students who earn a grade below C- in an S/U course receive no credit and a mark of Unsatisfactory is recorded on the academic record.

Restrictions on Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading
The S/U option applies only to courses in the fall, spring and summer terms in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Only one course or internship per semester or summer may be taken for S/U credit. However, an eligible student who registers for a course that is only offered for S/U credit may select an additional S/U course in the same semester. Language elements courses must be taken for a letter grade with the exception of Russian elements. Courses fulfilling a requirement for a major or minor must be taken for a grade (except in the first semester of the first year). If a student has taken a course for S/U credit and then changes to a major or minor that requires the course, the grade can be changed to a letter grade before graduation with the approval of the student’s academic advising office.

Changing to/from Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Credit
Eligible undergraduates may change the grading option for a course to or from S/U during the first eight weeks of the semester with approval of the faculty advisor. No changes in the grading option can be made after the end of the eighth week of the semester, even when no graded work has been assigned or returned before the S/U deadline.

Incomplete Grades
Students who are confronted with compelling circumstances beyond their control that interfere with the ability to complete their semester’s work during the normal course of a term may request an Incomplete grade from the instructor. Approval of such a request is neither automatic nor guaranteed. Procrastination or distraction by other pursuits are not regarded as compelling circumstances, and extensions in these situations are unfair to students who have completed their course requirements within the allotted time.

If the instructor agrees to grant an Incomplete grade, the instructor and student must establish a timetable for submitting the unfinished work. When entering an Incomplete grade in ISIS, the instructor must also enter a reversion grade. This is the grade that the student will receive if the missing work is not completed. For example, if the student—based on the coursework completed by the end of the semester—would receive a C+ grade without the missing work, then the grade of I/C+ is entered on the transcript. If the incomplete grade is not resolved within the allowed period (the end of the third week of the subsequent semester), the incomplete grade is automatically converted to the reversion grade (a C+ in this example).

Students who are in good academic standing have until the end of the third week of the next semester to finish Incomplete work. Exceptions to this deadline require a petition from the instructor and appeal to the appropriate advising office before the end of the third week of the following semester. When appealing to change the deadline, faculty members must specify a new date for completion of the work which must be before the end of the current semester. Incomplete grades cannot be held over to another semester in order to complete the missing work by repeating the course. Students and instructors do not have an option in this situation. Graduating seniors are expected to resolve incompletes by the close of their undergraduate record. If the work is not finished by the deadline, the reversion grade will be recorded.

Incomplete grades do not affect a student’s grade point average, which is based upon the grades that are available for the term. However, students with three or more Incompletes on their record at the start of a semester may be prevented from making changes to their registration for the semester without the approval of the student’s advising office. Students who are on academic probation are not allowed to take Incompletes in courses without the approval of the student’s advising office. Unauthorized Incompletes will be treated as failures when evaluating the work of students who are on academic probation. Authorized Incompletes must be resolved no later than the deadline established by the Advising Office if the student is on academic probation.

Policy on Changing a Grade
Once an instructor has submitted a grade to the Registrar, grade changes can be made only in the case of error in grading, calculation, or transcription. If a student has questions about a grade, s/he should contact the faculty instructor, who has sole authority to assess and assign course grades. If the instructor determines a change is warranted because of error, the change must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the end of the following semester. Grade changes for graduating seniors must be submitted by the close of their undergraduate record.

Repeating a Course
Students may repeat a course in which they have earned a grade of C+ or lower at Hopkins. The grade for the second attempt of the course, and the associated credits, are recorded on the student’s transcript and are calculated into the GPA. When the new grade is added to the academic record, the old grade is replaced with the letter R, indicating that the course was retaken in a later term. R grades do not affect grade point calculations and do not carry credit toward graduation. Only the grade in the repeated course receives credit and applies to the grade point average, even when the repeated grade is lower than the original grade. A student may repeat a course once. Taking the same course a third time or repeating another course requires written permission of the student’s academic advising office.

A course originally taken for a letter grade must be repeated for a letter grade. A course taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option, if repeated, must also be taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option. First-semester courses whose grades are covered by S/U notation are considered to have been taken for a grade. If a student wants to repeat a course from the first semester, the second attempt must also be for a letter grade. Withdrawn courses cannot be covered with an R if it is the course retaken.

To absolve a grade, the same course must be taken at Hopkins, not another college or university. In situations where the same course is no longer offered, and with the approval of the department and/or instructor responsible for the course and the student’s academic advising office, students may be able to absolve a grade in one of two ways:

1. by repeating a course of comparable content and level, or
2. as an independent study

Both of these options require approval of the department and/or instructor responsible for the course and the student’s academic advising office.

Other Restrictions on Absolving a Grade
Grades may not be absolved by repeating a course after graduation.

Grades assigned by the Ethics Board due to an academic ethics violation may not be removed from the academic record by repeating the course. Both the new grade and the assigned grade will be shown (no R will cover the original attempt).

Important Note About Credit and Grades for Language Elements Courses
Both semesters of language elements courses in French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, and languages offered in the Near Eastern Studies Department must be completed with passing grades in order to retain credit for the courses. If study of the language is terminated after the first semester, the student will lose the credit for the course. The course and grade will remain on the academic record, but no credit will be awarded and the grade will not affect the grade point average. This change to the record is generally made in the last semester prior to graduation by the student’s academic advising office, but students can also request that the advising office make the change at an earlier point. Students do not have to take both semesters of the first year of languages taught through the Center for Language Education to retain credit from the first semester.

Students must take the language elements (or beginning) courses for a letter grade, with the exception of the Russian elements course. The letter grade for first-semester freshmen will be covered on the transcript.

Students in the School of Arts and Sciences do not receive an area designation for these elements courses. For students in the School of Engineering, language elements courses can be substituted for humanities courses in meeting the distribution requirement.

Dean’s List
Students who earn a term grade point average of 3.50 or above in a program of at least 14 credits with at least 12 graded credits will be placed on the Dean’s List for academic excellence. An appropriate notation is made on the students’ academic records. Letters are sent to parents. Students’ hometown newspapers are also notified.