Article III. Grades and Course Credit


Section 1. Letter Grades and Their Value

A. The Grading System

The grading system for all graduate level courses leading to a graduate degree awarded by the Graduate School shall be as follows:

A 4
B 3
C 2
D 1
F 0

B.    D and F Grades

No degree credit may be earned for D and F grades received in graduate level courses. Such courses must be repeated, and a grade of C or higher must be earned to satisfy graduate degree requirements. Grades of D and F are a permanent part of the record, however, and are used in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average. However, as indicated in ARTICLE V. Section 4C (Master’s) and ARTICLE VI. Section 3 (Doctoral), students may earn no more than two C or below grades.  If a third C or below grade is earned, students will be dismissed from the Graduate School. In most instances, the dismissal letter will be sent prior to the start of the following semester.  If it is not, the dismissal is still in effect.  Accordingly, students should correspond with their Director of Graduate Studies, Chair, and Academic Dean immediately upon earning the 3rd C or below grade.

C.    Incomplete Grades

All incomplete grades, except those for thesis, dissertation, internship, or research courses, shall carry an alternate grade designation. The grade “I” with an alternate letter grade indicates that the work was incomplete at the end of the course. The alternate letter grade indicates the grade that will be recorded if the work is not completed by the end of the last day of the next semester in which the student is enrolled. This grade may be given to a graduate student who, upon petitioning the instructor in writing, has provided adequate justification for partial completion of the course requirement when the final grade report is due. Completion of a course in which an incomplete grade has been given will involve the submission of required documents, e.g., term papers, exams, and notebooks, or may also include completion of contractual period of service not corresponding to the grading period. At the time the alternate letter grade is assigned, the instructor and student must complete an Incomplete Grade Processing Form (IGPF) with details of what the student must do and by what date in order to remove/change the incomplete grade. A copy of the IGPF must be placed in the student’s file in the department office.  The grade of “W” will be reported for a graduate student who withdraws from a course after the end of the add/drop period during registration but before the last day to drop classes according to the University calendar. The “W” remains a permanent part of the student’s academic record.

Section 2. Change of Grade

A grade assigned for work in a graduate level course is not subject to change. Exceptional cases (such as errors in the computation of final grades) may be considered upon submission of a petition by the instructor of the course to the Graduate Dean of the Graduate School no later than one month after the beginning of the next semester in which the student is enrolled.  A justification letter must be submitted for late grade changes beyond the established time period.

Section 3. Approval for New or Additional Courses

Students may not receive graduate degree credit for courses not duly authorized for this purpose by the Graduate School.

Section 4. Auditors

A student may audit a graduate level course and is required to register for and to pay the regular tuition and other fees. An auditor is not required to take examinations and will not receive credit for the course. An audited course will be recorded on the students’ permanent record with an assigned grade of AD.

Section 5. Undergraduate Courses Taken by Graduate Students

Undergraduate courses taken to fulfill entrance deficiencies will not be calculated into students’ grade point average (GPA). Grades earned in required undergraduate courses taken by a graduate student as a requirement for their program are not calculated as a part of both the semester and cumulative grade point averages. A maximum of six credits of such courses may be counted toward a graduate degree with the approval of the department in which the degree is pursued. Only undergraduate courses in which a grade of "B" or better is earned will be counted toward the graduate degree but not calculated into the student’s grade point average.

Section 6. Graduate Courses Taken by Undergraduate Students

A department may permit a Howard University undergraduate student to take not more than two graduate courses in his/her senior year. When the credits earned in graduate courses exceed the total number of credits required for the baccalaureate degree, these credits may, with department approval, be counted toward requirements for a graduate degree at Howard University.

Section 7. Transfer of Credit to Graduate Degrees

Departments may approve transfer of credits for graduate courses, earned in other graduate programs, where the grade is B or better. However, it must be the considered judgment of the department that the work is relevant and meets the objectives of comparable courses. In no case may transfer credit hours exceed the limit specified in Article V., Section 5 (Master’s degree) and Article VI, Section 5 (doctoral degrees) herein. Such transfer may not be used to satisfy the residency requirement specified in Article V, Section 1A and Article VI, Section 1A and must be approved by the Graduate School.

Section 8. Cheating and Plagiarism

The Graduate School has a zero tolerance for any academic infractions such as cheating and plagiarism.  Academic infractions will be investigated in accordance with Howard University’s Academic Code of Student Conduct ( Students will be informed within 10 days suspicion of the infraction.  A committee will hear the case of the alleged infraction.  Students will have an opportunity to view the information that has been referred to the Graduate Dean. After the case is presented to the student, a recommendation is given to the Graduate Dean regarding a course of action.  If there is proof positive that the infraction has occurred, the student will be immediately dismissed from the Graduate School.