Grading System

Grades are officially recorded by letters, evaluated as follows.

Letter Grade Numerical Equivalent Explanation
A 4.000 Outstanding achievement
A– 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.000 Good achievement
B– 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.000 Satisfactory achievement
C– 1.667
D+ 1.333
D 1.000 Poor achievement
D– 0.667
F 0.000 Failure
I Incomplete
IP In progress
NE Not enrolled
NG Grade not reported by faculty
S Satisfactory (pass/fail basis; counts toward total degree requirements)
U Unsatisfactory (pass/fail basis)
X Incomplete (pass/fail basis)
L Audit (no credit given)
T Transfer
W Course withdrawal

An I, IP, or X grade shows that the student has not completed the course requirements.

The IP grade is intended for courses that extend over several semesters. The time restrictions on the incomplete grade do not apply to the IP grade. While the IP grade is left unchanged, it is not included in computing the grade-point average. If the IP grade is never changed, the course does not count toward graduation requirements.

Pass/Fail System

The individual schools and colleges state how and when the pass/fail system may be used. An outline of the general system follows.

  • Any student not on academic probation may register for one pass/fail course per semester if permission is granted by the college in which the student is enrolled and if the course is offered on a pass/fail basis.
  • Pass/fail courses are normally restricted to electives outside the major, minor, or NUpath requirements. The college faculty, however, may choose to adopt the pass/fail system of grading when it appears pedagogically sound for required courses within a major or minor.
  • Before requesting a pass/fail grade from an instructor, students should meet with their academic advisor to determine whether doing so will disqualify the course from satisfying a program requirement or elective. In general, courses taken on a pass/fail basis can be used only to satisfy open electives.
  • Individual faculty members may decide whether any of their courses may be taken on the pass/fail system of grading, except when uniformity is necessary. In such cases, the department and/or college faculty offering the course determine whether the pass/fail system is used.
  • Grades recorded on the basis of the pass/fail system do not figure in the computation of the grade-point average. Satisfactory completion of all courses taken on the pass/fail system is designated on the student’s permanent record by the letter S. Unsatisfactory work is designated by the letter U. Any unsatisfactory grade must be handled according to the existing policy of the college but must never be cleared through the election of the same course pass/fail, except when this system is the only one used by the college for grading the course.
  • To use the pass/fail system, students must meet all prerequisites for the course and declare by the end of the second week of the semester their intention to receive a pass/fail grade. This deadline may be extended to the end of the eighth week of a full semester or the end of the fifth week of summer half semester at the option of the instructor.
  • Students must submit a Petition to Elect Pass/Fail Grade, signed by the faculty member.

Clearing an Incomplete or Changing Other Grades

The period for clearing an incomplete grade or for changing a grade other than an incomplete or failure (F or U) is restricted to one calendar year from the date it is first recorded on the student’s permanent record. An incomplete grade may be reported by the instructor when a student has failed to complete a major component of a required course, such as homework, a quiz or final examination, a term paper, or a laboratory project. Students may make up an incomplete grade by satisfying the requirements of the instructor or, if the instructor is absent, the chair of the department. Be aware that instructors’ policies on the granting of incomplete grades may vary and that the final decision on an incomplete grade is up to the instructor.

Freshmen with multiple course deficiencies, including incomplete grades, may be required by their college academic advisor to rectify the deficiencies within a period of time less than the normal year.

To request an incomplete grade, the student must obtain and complete in consultation with the instructor an Incomplete-Grade Contract on which the precise agreement for clearing an incomplete grade is specified and which is signed by the student and the instructor. Copies of the form are kept by the student, the instructor, and the Office of the Dean of the college in which the course is offered. Any exception to this policy on change of grades must be recommended by the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) of the college in which the course was offered and must be forwarded in writing by the ASC to the registrar for implementation. (Finishing the agreed-upon course work must be completed within one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was offered.)

University policy states that any grade outstanding for twelve or more months cannot be changed. Any exception to this policy on change of grades must be recommended by the ASC of the college in which the course was offered and must be forwarded in writing by the dean to the Office of the Registrar for implementation.

Repeating Courses

When the appropriate course is available, students may repeat a course to earn a better grade. In all cases, the most recent grade earned in a course is the one used in calculating the overall grade-point average; however, previous grades remain on the transcript followed by the word “Repeat.” Consult your academic advisor before repeating a course. Students are required to pay normal tuition for all repeated course work.

Substituting Courses

In some cases, it may not be possible to repeat a course if a student wishes to do so. In unusual circumstances, students may petition to substitute one course for another they have already taken, as long as the subject matter of both courses is substantially alike. With the approval of the student’s academic advisor and the agreement of the department that offered the first course taken, a grade received in the new course will be labeled “Substitute” on the transcript and will be treated in the grade-point average calculation as a “repeat” grade, as described above. The original grade will remain on the student’s Northeastern transcript. Students should consult with their academic advisor before enrolling in any proposed substitute course. Students are required to pay normal tuition charges for all substitute course work.

Clearing an Academic Deficiency

An academic deficiency occurs when a student fails to complete a course with a satisfactory grade. The deficiency may occur because the student has failed the course or because the student has passed the course but with a grade that does not meet the minimum required by the student’s program.

Students who have academic deficiencies may be required to clear them before progressing within the curriculum, especially if a given course is a prerequisite for future course work. Deficiencies may affect the student’s expected year of graduation.

With the approval of the appropriate program faculty and/or academic advisor, students can clear deficiencies in the following ways:

  1. Repeat the same course at one of Northeastern’s colleges, which will result in a “repeat” grade (see “Repeating Courses” policy above).
  2. Substitute a comparable course at one of Northeastern’s colleges, which will result in a “repeat” grade (see “Substituting Courses” policy above).
  3. Under special circumstances, a student may be advised to take a preapproved course at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies or at another institution outside Northeastern University. The original grade will remain on the student’s Northeastern transcript and will still be used in the calculation of the grade-point average.

Appeal of Final Grades

Under certain circumstances, students have the right to appeal final grades given by either academic faculty or cooperative education coordinators. Criteria and procedures for such appeals can be found on p. 1 of the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Grade-Point Average (GPA)

Numerical equivalents for scholastic averages are weighted according to the number of hours the course carries. For example, suppose a student receives a grade of B in a course carrying 4 semester hours and a grade of A in a course carrying 1 semester hour. The weightings for these example courses are as follows:

Grade Numerical Equivalent Semester Hours Weight
B 3.000 4 12
A 4.000 1 4
Totals: 5 16

The GPA for both courses would then be the total weight (16) divided by the total semester hours (5), or 3.200. Grades of I, IP, S, U, and X are not included in the calculation of the GPA. See grade table for a complete list of grades and numerical equivalents.

Grade Reports

Grades are available to students approximately three days after the end of each semester via the myNortheastern web portal. A missing grade means that none was received from the instructor. Grades received late from faculty are processed as they are received.


Currently enrolled students may obtain unofficial transcripts from the myNortheastern web portal and may also order official transcripts through myNortheastern. For further information on transcript requests, visit the transcript request webpage. All questions concerning transcript requests should be directed to 617.373.2300, TTY 617.373.5360.