Grading System

The following grading system is standardized for all colleges and schools of the university. Each instructor is responsible for determining the requirements for a class, determining the grading scale used, and for assigning grades on the basis of those requirements and grading scale by the grade submission deadline each term. 

Standard Grade Points per Hour of Credit

A superior/excellent, 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B good/better than average, 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C competent/average, 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- minimum passing, 0.7
F failing, 0.0

Other Grade Symbols

CR Credit. Excluded from GPA.
I Incomplete; changed to F if not completed within one year
IP In progress; thesis at the graduate level or specified graduate-level courses
NC No credit
NR Class grades were not reported when final grades were processed
P Passing; effective spring 2020, under pass/fail option, grades of D+, D or D- convert to P. Law School requires a grade of 72 or above to Pass. Excluded from GPA.
P+ Passing; effective spring 2020, under pass/fail option, grades of C- and above convert to P+. Excluded from GPA.
S Satisfactory (effective fall 2022; formerly pass/fail only). Excluded from GPA.
U Unsatisfactory (effective fall 2022; formerly pass/fail only). Excluded from GPA.
W Withdrew
*** Student is currently enrolled in a class; in progress

Incomplete (I) Grades

An incomplete (I) grade indicates that the student did not complete the requirements for the class by the end of the grading period for that semester. Requests for incomplete grades must be initiated by the student and only when, for reasons beyond their control, the student is unable to complete the class requirements within the semester of enrollment. A substantial amount of work must have been satisfactorily completed before approval for such an incomplete grade is given.
If an instructor grants a request for an incomplete, the instructor sets the conditions under which the coursework can be completed and the time limit for its completion or if the class should be retaken. Incomplete grades, along with a last date of attendance (for financial aid purposes) must be submitted by the grading deadline of the term.

If the student does not complete the class requirements within one year from the end of the semester in which the Incomplete was assigned, the I grade is converted to a failing (F) grade.

If an incomplete-graded class is retaken, it must be completed on the Boulder campus or through Boulder Continuing Education coursework, and the student must re-register for the course and pay the appropriate tuition. The initial grade of I is not removed from the transcript if the course is completed within one year of the end of the term of the previous enrollment. When a final grade has been assigned, the transcript states, "Originally graded as Incomplete."

For graduating students, I grades assigned in courses required for a degree must be resolved before degrees may be posted. Unresolved I grades in required coursework will result in graduation being postponed. Students must reapply for graduation in a subsequent term. I grades assigned in courses not required for their degree must be resolved no later than the grading deadline of the term of graduation. If left unresolved, I grades become permanent and subsequent grade changes are not honored.

Not Reported (NR) and In Progress (IP)

Similar to Incomplete grades, graduating students who have either NR or IP status in courses required for a degree must have them resolved and converted to an official grade before degrees will be posted. Unresolved NR and IP status grades in required coursework will result in graduation being postponed. Students must reapply for graduation in a subsequent term. NR and IP status grades assigned in courses not required for a degree must be resolved by the last regular class day of the term of graduation. If left unresolved, NR and IP grades become permanent and subsequent grade change requests are not honored.

Grade Changes

Students who believe a grade was assigned in error must request a grade change by the published deadline of their home college or school. However, grade changes for graduating students must be submitted and processed prior to degrees being posted to academic records. Grade changes will not be processed to an academic record with a conferred degree.

It is left to the discretion of the faculty member to determine if a grade change is warranted. This policy does not apply to grading grievances. See Student Appeals, Complaints & Grievances.

Grade Point Average

The overall University of Colorado grade point average (GPA) is computed as follows: the credit hours and credit points are totaled for all courses and across all campuses within the same career (UGRD, GRAD or LAW); then the total credit points are divided by the total credit hours. Courses with grade symbols of P, P+, NC, *** (grade not yet entered), W, I and IP are excluded from calculations. All standard letter grades (A-F) are included in the GPA, including grades of F earned for courses graded on a pass/fail basis. Grades of I that are not completed within one year are converted to F grades and calculated in the GPA at the end of the one-year grace period. Below is an example GPA calculation for a hypothetical semester:

Grade Earned: A; Credit Points per Hour: 4.0; x Credit Hours: 4.0 = Credit Points in Course: 16.0
Grade Earned: A-; Credit Points per Hour: 3.7; x Credit Hours: 4.0 = Credit Points in Course: 14.8
Grade Earned: B+; Credit Points per Hour: 3.3; x Credit Hours: 4.0 = Credit Points in Course: 13.2
Grade Earned: P or P+; Credit Points per Hour: —; x Credit Hours: 3.0 = Credit Points in Course: — (excluded)
Grade Earned: F; Credit Points per Hour: 0; x Credit Hours: 3.0 = Credit Points in Course: 0
Total of 15 credit hours with 44 credit points, so 44/15 = 2.93 GPA

For individual GPA calculations related to graduation requirements for a college or school, students should refer to their academic dean's office.

Numeric GPAs displayed on the transcript are carried out to three decimal points and are not rounded up to the nearest whole number.

Credit Policies 

No Credit

Coursework to be applied toward an advanced degree may not be taken for no credit (NC). Courses taken for no credit cannot be used toward the minimum credit load requirement for full-time or half-time status, and are not eligible for tuition remission coverage. Graduate students also cannot use the no-credit class(es) towards their TA/RA appointment.


No coursework to be applied toward an advanced degree may be taken pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credits from accredited institutions are accepted by CU Boulder only after approval by the department chair/program director and the dean of the Graduate School, and under conditions outlined below. Transfer credit is defined as any credit earned at another accredited institution, credits earned on another campus of the CU system or credits earned as a nondegree student within the CU system. Students seeking a degree from CU Boulder must complete the majority of their coursework while enrolled as degree-seeking students.

With the approval of the Graduate School and at the discretion of the unit, students may transfer up to and including 24 hours from a CU Boulder graduate certificate program, taken as a CU Boulder non-degree student, toward a graduate degree.

The following rules apply to transferring credit to CU Boulder graduate programs:

  • The maximum amount of work that may be transferred to CU Boulder depends upon the graduate degree sought (see below; individual departments may have more restrictive limits).
  • Work already applied toward a graduate degree received from CU Boulder or another institution cannot be accepted for transfer toward another graduate degree of the same level at CU Boulder. In addition, work completed for a doctoral degree may not be applied toward a subsequent master's degree. Courses applied toward an undergraduate degree may not be transferred to the CU Boulder Graduate School.
  • All courses accepted for transfer must be graduate-level courses. A course in which a grade of B- or lower was received will not be accepted for transfer. Transfer coursework that is to be applied to a graduate degree at CU Boulder and was completed more than five years prior to being accepted to the program will be evaluated by the major department as to current relevance and applicability to the degree requirements. At the discretion of the department, a student may be asked to validate transfer credits prior to approval.
  • Credit may not be transferred until the student has completed 6 credit hours of graduate coursework as a regular, degree-seeking student at the Boulder campus with a 3.00 GPA. Transferred credits do not reduce the minimum registration requirement, but may reduce the amount of work to be done in formal courses.

Maximum Transfer Credits Accepted (By Degree)

Master's (except MFA)9

Graduate Credit for CU Boulder Seniors

With the exception of students enrolled in a bachelor's-accelerated master's (BAM)  program, seniors at CU Boulder may earn graduate credit for a limited amount of graduate-level work (up to 9 credit hours), provided such work is completed with a grade of B or above in coursework at CU Boulder, comes within the five-year course time limit, has not been applied toward another degree and is recommended for transfer by the department concerned, and such transfer is approved by the dean of the Graduate School.

Grade Replacement

CU Boulder students (excluding Law students) who previously earned a low grade in an eligible course may repeat that course in a later term and be eligible for grade replacement. Grade replacement affords students the opportunity to improve their cumulative GPA.

Grade replacement is applied automatically at the end of each term to eligible courses and students.

Under grade replacement, the grade earned in the most recent prior attempt of a course will still appear on the transcript, but it will be replaced in cumulative GPA and credit totals as long as the latest grade earned is the same or better. If a lower grade is earned in the latest attempt, grade replacement is not applied and the grades from both attempts will be used in computing cumulative and major grade point averages, total credits and academic standing. 

When students repeat courses that are not eligible for grade replacement, the grade and credits earned in each attempt are included in student credit and GPA totals and calculations.

Some academic programs have limits on the number of course repeats allowed for specific courses or the number of attempts for degree applicability.

General Eligibility

Course Requirements

Only courses offered by and taken through CU Boulder are eligible for grade replacement. To qualify for grade replacement, the course also must:

  • Be taken at CU Boulder for a letter grade (i.e., not taken pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory or for no credit).
  • Not be a special topics course or any other course designated in the catalog as repeatable for credit (e.g., independent study, field experience, dissertation hours). Exceptions: Topics courses WRTG 1100WRTG 1150WRTG 1160, WRTG 1250WRTG 3020, WRTG 3030WRTG 3035 and WRTG 3040 are eligible for grade replacement regardless of topic.

Student Requirements

To quality for grade replacement, students must:

  • Be an active student at CU Boulder (law students are not eligible). Students who have graduated cannot use grade replacement for a course taken in a completed academic career.
  • Have earned a C- or lower (undergraduate students), or a C+ or lower (graduate students) in the most recent prior attempt of a course.

Opting Out of Grade Replacement

Students may repeat courses at any point in their academic career without invoking grade replacement by submitting an opt-out request to Office of the Registrar by the last day of classes of the term. In those cases, the grade and credits earned in each attempt are included in student credit and GPA totals and calculations.

Additional Information

For more information on grade replacement, visit the Office of the Registrar website or view the grade replacement policy in full.