Academic Progress

Grades and Grading Policies for MPS Students

The following symbols are used for grades:

“A”,”B”,”C” (Passing), “D,”F” (Failure) and ‘I’ (Incomplete). Because graduate students must maintain an overall ‘B’ average, every credit hour of ‘C’ in course work must be balanced by a credit hour of ‘A.’

A course in which a grade less than ‘B’ is received may be repeated. On the transcript, ‘R’ (Repeated) denotes a repeated course. Only the grade on the repeated courses, whether it is higher or lower than the original grade, is used in the computation of the cumulative GPA; however, all grades earned remain on the transcript. On the transcript, ‘NA’ (Non-Applicable) denotes a course that does not apply to the degree program and does not enter into GPA calculation. Courses in the student’s designated degree program that are completed with a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ must be repeated. No student may graduate with an unresolved ‘F’ on the record.

A ‘Pass-Fail’ (P-F) grading system may be used at the discretion of the department or program for certain types of graduate study and with the approval of the Graduate Council. These include courses that require independent field work, special projects or independent study. The P-F grade option for conventional courses that are being used toward a degree is not available to students at the graduate level.

Note that the certificate students need to get a B or better grade in all the courses they take.

Plus/Minus Grading

Faculty have the option of assigning grades that include a plus or a minus (e.g., “B+”) to graduate students enrolled in graduate courses. This option is not available for undergraduate students enrolled in graduate courses or graduate students enrolled in undergraduate courses. As plus/minus grading is only an option, faculty may, at their discretion, continue to assign only single letter grades (e.g., “B”). By design, the grade of “A” still indicates superior achievement, so “A+” is not assignable. Furthermore, the grades of “D” and “F” still indicate unacceptable performance, so plus/minus grading is not assignable for either. Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 during their entire course of study. The transition to optional plus/minus grading does not change this standard. The following table delineates the grade options and their respective quality points.

Graduate – Grades and Notations

  • A Superior (4.0 Quality Points)
  • A- (3.7 Quality Points)
  • B+ (3.3 Quality Points)
  • B Good (3.0 Quality Points)
  • B- (2.7 Quality Points)
  • C+ (2.3 Quality Points)
  • C Not Satisfactory (2.0 Quality Points)
  • C- (1.7 Quality Points)
  • D Unacceptable (1.0 Quality Points)
  • F Failure (0 Quality Points)
  • AU Audit (No Credits Attempted or Earned)
Temporary and Final Grades

Students are expected to complete all the requirements of graduate course work in the semester in which the course is taken, and the graduate faculty is expected to issue final grades (‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D’ or ‘F’) by the date listed on the Final Report of Grades. Students failing to meet this requirement may, upon request, be awarded a temporary grade of ‘Incomplete.’ Faculty needing additional time for the grading process may award a temporary grade of ‘No Mark’ or ‘NM.’

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete (‘I’) grade must be changed to a final letter grade (‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D’ or ‘F’) for all courses required for the degree. For courses not required for the degree, an ‘I’ mark may remain on the student’s transcript. This policy does not apply to the 799, 898 and 899 research grades, where letter grades, P-F grades or ‘I’ grades may be assigned. In those cases where grades of ‘I’ have been assigned, they should be replaced and assigned an appropriate terminal grade when the applicable research has been approved by the examining committee.

Appeal of Grade

A student who believes that a final grade in a course is improper and the result of arbitrary and capricious grading may appeal to the dean of the Graduate School. A copy of the ‘Procedural Guidelines for Handling of Allegations of Arbitrary and Capricious Grading ‘ may be viewed here and is on file in all graduate program offices and in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.


A graduate student’s academic record (transcript) is intended to serve as a complete history of the student’s academic progress at UMBC. As such, it cannot be altered except in conformance with stated Graduate School policies governing change of election. Under no circumstances will the academic records be altered because of dissatisfaction with a grade or other academic accomplishment. The university’s Disclosure of Student Records Policy describes UMBC’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Academic Standards and Probation

All graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 during their entire course of study. Failure to do so may result in academic dismissal.

Students who do not maintain a ‘B’ (3.0) average may be placed on academic probation. To avoid dismissal from the Graduate School, the student must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 by the end of the semester following being placed on probation. In some cases, a student may receive a warning before being placed on probation. Some departments have a policy of recommending that the Graduate School dismiss any student who has received a grade of ‘D’ or ‘F.’