Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Graduate School Policies
General Academic Information
Grading System

Assignment of grades is the responsibility of the course instructor. The university has adopted the following grading system:

Letter Grade Numerical Value
A 4.0
 A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
 C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0

Grades in all courses, assigned one of the letter grades above, are calculated into the overall GPA on the transcript. An additional GPA is calculated for the Plan of Study for each graduate degree. There are, in addition to the above grades, the following grades that do not calculate into the GPA: "I" (Incomplete), "P" (Pass; performance of C- or higher when enrolled for the P/F grade option), "X" (a temporary grade for the first semester in those courses that continue across more than one semester; "EQ" (Equivalent Credit, a "pass" for research or project/report credit); "RG and RP" (Repeat Graduate grades) and "NR" (grade Not Recorded, indicating the instructor did not enter a grade). The "NG" (No Grade, assigned when the student has not done any of the work for the course) and the grade "F" on a course taken Pass/Fail calculate as 0.0 in computing the GPA.

Grade for Thesis/Dissertation/Major Paper

Research toward a thesis, dissertation or major paper (the last is generally designated as Project and Report credits) is assigned equivalent credit hours (EQ grade) when satisfactory progress has been made. The "NG" grade can be given when progress on a thesis or dissertation has not been satisfactory.

Incomplete, X, NG and NR Grades

An Incomplete ("I") grade, which is not calculated in the GPA, may be given when the requirements of a course have not been completed because of illness or extenuating circumstances. It is at the discretion of the instructor whether the circumstances warrant the assignment of an Incomplete. Incompletes should be removed, by completing the course requirements, as soon as possible. Departments should set policies for the time allowed for removal of "I" grades and the number of "I" grades that are allowed by students in their programs. Grades of "I" may be removed during a period when the student is not enrolled at the university. Grades of "X" are assigned initially to students in a course that extends over more than one semester and are removed when the final grade for the course is entered.
Graduate degrees cannot be completed until all "I", "X", "NG" and "NR" grades on the Plan of Study have been converted to a passing letter grade (i.e., a C- or better for courses with the A/F grading option, a P for courses only offered on the P/F grading option).

If a student is ready to complete a graduate degree and grades of “I”, “X”, “NG”  or “NR” are present on the transcript but off the Plan of Study, the department  should investigate why these grades have not been remedied. In many  cases these grades reflect unresolved problems or errors that can and should be remedied.  However, as long as the student has a GPA of 3.0 or better both on the Plan of Study and overall, these grades  can remain on the transcript and not interfere with degree completion.

Grading System Requirements

All courses taken at Virginia Tech that are included on the Plan of Study, i.e., courses that satisfy degree requirements, must be taken for a letter grade (A/F) except for those courses offered on a pass/fail (P/F) basis only (for example,  Independent Study courses  and most seminars are only offered P/F). Courses on the Plan of Study with grades below "C-" must be repeated. Courses on the Plan of Study, once taken, cannot be removed from the Plan of Study.

Graduate students are permitted to take additional courses on a pass/fail basis only if those courses are not on their Plan of Study, are outside the department, and are approved by the student’s advisor. Such courses may not be used to satisfy minimum degree requirements. Under the graduate P/F grading option, a "P" is granted for earning a "C-" or better in a course. Once credit is received for a course taken P/F, the course may not be repeated under the A/F grading system.

Repeating Courses

Courses originally taken on the P/F option, in which a grade of "F" is earned, may only be repeated on a P/F basis. Courses may not be repeated if a "P" grade is earned, or without permission of the Graduate School if a grade of "C-" or better is earned.

When a course is repeated the grade for the earlier enrollment will be a Repeat Graduate ("RG", defined as a grade of "C-" or lower; "RP", defined as a grade of "C" or higher, when the course was first taken) which will not calculate into the GPA. Only the grade earned for the final enrollment in the course will receive a letter grade and be calculated in the GPA. If a student wishes to repeat a course in which the first grade earned was a C- or higher, permission for a policy exception must be obtained from the Dean's office prior to taking the course a second time.

An audit requires approval of the instructor. Auditing of laboratory work is not permitted. Registration for Audit may not be changed to credit, or vice versa, after the last day to add classes without an exception to policy by the instructor, the student's major advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School. If the student or the instructor expects evaluation of coursework, then the student must enroll either as a P/F option or for a letter grade. If a faculty member wishes to require the participation of auditing students in selected activities, then that should be stated in the syllabus or communicated to the student. Students are assessed the same rate of tuition and fees for audited courses as for courses taken for credit. Audited courses do not count toward full-time enrollment.
Graduate Credit

Students must have a recognized status with the Graduate School (i.e., have been admitted to graduate studies) and be officially enrolled in a course to earn graduate credit in that course. Graduate courses at Virginia Tech are numbered 5000 or higher. As of Fall 2009 there are no 4000-graduate approved courses (see information about the limited use of undergraduate courses on Plans of Study). Instructors should not allow students to attend if they are not enrolled in a course (i.e., are not on the official Class List, which can be viewed on HokieSpa in Faculty Access, by the end of the Add Period for the semester). Students should resolve all enrollment problems before the end of the Add Period to be able to obtain credit for a course.

On-line Courses/Independent Study in Absentia/Continuing Education

On-line courses offered for graduate credit from accredited universities may be considered for transfer credit (see section on transfer credit limitations in Plan of Study). Independent study (5974) or Graduate Research credits (5994 or 7994) completed while the student is residing at a distance from the instructor's Virginia Tech location must have regular faculty consultation by means such as email or regular telephone calls. No credit toward graduate degrees may be obtained by correspondence study or from continuing education courses.