Grading Policies

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. Students may designate authorized users to view final course grades in SIS.  

Grades and Grade Point Average Points

Each grade corresponds to a numerical grade point equivalent to allow the computation of a grade point average. S and U grades have no effect on grade point average.  The grades and their grade point equivalents are as follows:

Grade Performance GPA Points
SSatisfactory (C- and above)N/A
UUnsatisfactory (D+ and below)N/A

Other marks are used in special circumstances as follows:

FEVFailure - ethics violation
I/GradeIncomplete/Reversion Grade (incomplete grade reverts to this letter grade at deadline unless alternate grade is submitted prior to that deadline)
MRMissing grade roster
NDNot officially dropped
NGNo grade given, course completed
WOfficial withdrawal
XNo grade reported by instructor

Grade Points and Grade Point Average

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
GPA = 38.8/13 = 2.98

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grades

Undergraduates may select one course each semester and summer (across all summer terms)  to take for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit at JHU. Students indicate their S/U choice on their add/drop form. AS students need the advising office approval for courses within their major or writing intensive courses. EN students need approval from their faculty advisor. Course instructors are unaware of which students in a class are registered for S/U credit. Instructors 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 eleventh 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 eleventh 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 a 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 a S/U course receive no credit and a mark of Unsatisfactory is recorded on the academic record.

Under certain conditions, graduating students in their eighth semester or later may exceed the normal S/U grading limit.  See Graduation Policies for details.

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 per semester or summer (across all summer terms) 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. 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 and the director of undergraduate studies for the relevant major or minor.  If the S grade is acceptable for the new major or minor, the S grade will not be converted to a letter grade.  

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, but no later than the end of the third week of the following semester. See below for specific information about graduating students. When entering an incomplete grade in SIS, 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 retaking the course. Students and instructors do not have an option in this situation.

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 incomplete grades 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 incomplete grades in courses without the approval of the student’s advising office. Unauthorized incomplete grades will be treated as failures when evaluating the work of students who are on academic probation. Authorized incomplete grades must be resolved no later than the deadline established by the Advising Office if the student is on academic probation.

Special Rules for Graduating Students

Students with incomplete grades in required courses at the date of degree conferral will not graduate. Students with incomplete grades in courses that are not required for degree completion may still graduate. However, the deadline for completion is abbreviated; students must resolve incomplete grades within approximately 30 days after degree conferral when the university closes their undergraduate record. If the work is not finished by the deadline, the reversion grade will be recorded. For the specific deadline relevant to each degree conferral, please consult with Academic Advising or the Office of the Registrar. For more details on incomplete grades and graduation, see Graduation Policies.

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.

Under extenuating circumstances when the student has engaged the services of the case managers in the Office of the Dean of Student Life, the following procedure may be used to withdraw a student from a previously graded course:

  • Support for changing a grade to a withdrawal must be submitted by the Office of the Dean of Student Life to either the Arts and Sciences Office of Academic Advising or the Office of Engineering Advising
  • Such support must include the last date of attendance and the instructor's approval
  • The Registrar's Office will process the withdrawal and notate the academic record upon receipt of approval documentation
  • Late withdrawals may adversely affect a student's academic standing or financial aid satisfactory academic progress even with official approval.

Retaking a Course

Policies about retaking a course can be found here.

First-Year Language Courses: Information about Credit and Grades

Policies about first-year language course can be found here.

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 record. Letters are sent to parents/guardians by the student's respective academic advising office. The university places notification in your appropriate hometown newspaper, if you elect to follow the directions provided with the letter. 

Class Rank

The university does not calculate class rank and therefore, cannot provide this information to students or outside parties.


Information about ordering transcripts is available here. Partial transcripts of a student's record will not be issued.

Transcripts are normally issued only at the request of the student or with his/her written consent. The only exception to this policy is the issuance of transcripts to offices and departments within the university.

Although there are no university regulations concerning attendance, students are expected to attend all courses regularly. Students should consult with their instructors and/or teaching assistants when they have missed classes to explain the reasons for their absence and to stay on track in the course. Instructors are encouraged to establish their own policies regarding attendance, and it is the student's responsibility to know those policies.

In certain courses regular attendance is given special importance. These include foreign language courses and the introductory courses in the Writing Seminars and Expository Writing. Instructors in these courses may lower a student's grade for unexcused absences.

If a student is absent from classes over a period of several days without explanation, instructors are encouraged to inform the advising office of his/her school. In some cases, withdrawing from a course may be considered; however, the student must withdraw from a course before the end of the eleventh week of the semester and still remain in at least 12 credits.

Absence From Class Due to Illness

The Student Health and Wellness Center does not provide excuses for students who miss individual classes, including required attendance classes or labs. For students who are seen at the Health Center for a serious or extended illness that causes them to miss a number of classes over several days or major academic assignments, such as mid-terms examinations and major presentations, the Health Center will provide verification of the visit to the student directly and alert the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Verification will not be provided retroactively.  It is the student's responsibility to forward the verification to any professors/instructors who request it.

Since the absence from a final examination is excused only for the most serious of circumstances, the Health Center will provide verification of the visit for those students who are seen at the Center for treatment at the time of their illness only.

Students should be guided by the following:

  1. Ask instructors about expectations for class attendance and what procedures they will follow for students who miss class or assignments. Such policies are determined by each instructor and will differ from class to class.
  2. In the event of a missed class or inability to complete course work due to illness, contact the instructor to make whatever arrangements are necessary to make up any work.
  3. Notify the professor promptly by email. This should be done before the missed class unless it is not possible to do so  (for example, if  hospitalized or incapacitated). In cases where prior notification is not possible, notify the professor as soon as possible.
  4. Misrepresenting personal circumstances to a faculty member, Student Health and Wellness staff, or any university official constitutes academic dishonesty and is grounds for action by the Academic Ethics Board.

Absence for Religious Holidays

Religious holidays are valid reasons to be excused from class. Students who must miss a class or an examination because of a religious holiday must inform the instructor as early in the semester as possible in order to be excused from class or to make up any work that is missed.

Approved Absences

The university encourages students to participate in varsity athletics and other significant extracurricular activities. Students who must miss a class or an examination because of participation in a scheduled in-season varsity athletic event must notify the course instructor as early in the semester as possible. Approved absences are granted at the discretion of the course instructor. When students must miss a scheduled examination, several solutions have been found by instructors. Students have been permitted to take an examination before leaving for the event, or coaches have served as proctors for examinations taken during the athletic event at approximately the same time as the other students in the course. Students have also been allowed to take the examination, or an alternative examination, upon their return from the athletic event.