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Claremont McKenna College    
  Oct 16, 2017
2017-2018 Catalog

Grades and Grade Points


Final grades are determined by the instructor in each course and may be based on class recitation, class participation, written work, midterms, and final examinations.

Grading System

The College uses the 12-point grading system under which grade points for full courses are assigned as follows:

A 12 points C 6 points
A- 11 points C- 5 points
B+ 10 points D+ 4 points
B 9 points D 3 points
B- 8 points D- 2 points
C+ 7 points F 0 points

Grade points for one-half (0.5) credit courses with a grade are adjusted in accordance with the credit granted for the course.

Grade Point Average

A student’s CMC cumulative grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the sum of the grade points earned by the total number of courses attempted (with grade points) while enrolled at CMC. Grade points are only assigned to courses taken by students while enrolled at CMC during the regular academic year, as well as for some courses taken at the other undergraduate Claremont Colleges during the summer.

If the total grade points are less than the number required for a C (6.00) average, the shortage is called the grade point deficiency. For example, a student who has taken 7 courses needs to have earned at least 42 (7 x 6 = 42) grade points for a C (6.00) average. A student who has only earned 38 grade points has a deficiency of 4 grade points.

In addition to the numerical grades, the College uses a number of grades that do not carry grade points and are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Credit-No Credit (CR-NC) Grades

The CR-NC option is limited to 4 courses per student, and 1 per semester (except for courses which are graded only CR-NC). Courses taken on a CR-NC basis cannot count toward general education requirements, major requirements, or sequence requirements.

Grade points are not awarded for courses taken on a CR-NC basis and courses taken on such a basis are not included in the computation of the GPA. Courses completed with credit are counted toward the total number required for graduation.

The CR-NC option is also used for challenge examinations and internships, except for the semester internship in Washington, D.C. Program.

CR-NC petition forms are available from the Registrar. Petitions must be completed and returned to the Registrar no later than the last day to withdraw from classes without penalty.

Courses taken on a CR-NC basis are graded as follows:

  CR (Credit): Grade of C or better  
  NC (No Credit): Grade below C  

Continuing (P) Grades

This grade may be assigned at the end of the first semester for a 2-semester sequence course. It does not indicate whether or not progress is satisfactory. No grade or credit will be assigned until the sequence has been completed. At the end of the second semester, the grade earned for the year-long course will be entered for both semesters.

Students doing a 2-semester thesis may select this option for the first semester of their thesis. Interested students must request this option by the 10th day of the first semester of their thesis. Faculty reader(s) must approve and sign the request. Forms are available in the Registrar’s Office.

Incomplete (I) Grades

Students may petition the Academic Standards Committee  to grant them a grade of I (incomplete). Incomplete grades are temporary grades and will only be awarded by the ASC when illness or other extenuating circumstance beyond a student’s control legitimately prevents the completion of required work by the due date at the end of the semester. Petitions for incompletes are appropriate when students have actively participated in a course during the semester, but due to illness or other circumstances beyond their control, are not able to complete assignments or exams at the end of the semester. Incomplete petitions are not appropriate for students who have missed a substantial number of classes or assignments, or who have completed all major requirements in a given course. Petitions for incompletes should be submitted before the last day of classes. In cases of serious illness or emergency, the ASC may consider a petition filed after the end of the semester. Incomplete grades are not given simply for failure by students to complete work on time, nor as a means of permitting students to raise grades by doing additional work after the due date for course work or for final grades.

Students are responsible for the completion of the incomplete petition form and for obtaining all required signatures, including those of the instructor and the Dean of Students. All petitions must be submitted with supporting documentation. Incomplete petition forms are available from the Registrar’s Office and the Dean of Students, and should be returned to the Registrar’s Office.

On the petition forms, the instructors must indicate whether or not they support the petition. They also must give an evaluation of the student’s performance in the course up to the time of the petition. In addition, instructors must give a detailed description of the work that needs to be completed and they must specify the grade that will be assigned if the ASC does not approve the petition.

Incomplete grades will be removed and replaced with appropriate grades if all work is completed by the last day to add a class (10th day) of the subsequent semester, unless the ASC has decided on a different deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to make appropriate arrangements with the instructor(s) so they can complete all assignments on time. If no grade is given to the Registrar’s Office by the due date, incomplete grades are automatically changed to Fs; they are not changed to the grade the student would have received if the ASC had not approved the petition. The Academic Standards Committee will require students to present compelling evidence that the circumstances which served as grounds for the incomplete are resolved prior to returning to CMC for the next semester.

If a student has missed a substantial amount of work, the option of a late withdrawal from the course may be more appropriate.

Late Withdrawal (W) Grades

Each semester there is a deadline for withdrawing from a course at CMC. This date is listed in the academic calendar for each term. If a student wishes to withdraw from a course after the deadline, he or she must petition the Academic Standards Committee. The ASC will consider such requests in three situations:

  1. If no graded work was received by the student prior to the withdrawal deadline. In this case, the student must submit a petition for late withdrawal within seven days of the time when graded work was first made available by the instructor.
  2. If circumstances beyond a student’s control prevents completion of a course. In this case, the student must submit the petition for late withdrawal before the last day of classes.
  3. If serious illness or emergency (a) prevents a student from filing a petition before the last day of classes or (b) occurs after classes have ended. In this case, the student must submit a petition for late withdrawal no later than one month into the next semester.

Students are responsible for completing the Late Withdrawal Petition form, including all signatures and required documentation, and for returning the completed form to the Registrar’s Office. Students on probation must indicate this fact on the petition form. Petitions will not be considered without appropriate supporting documentation. Forms are available from the Registrar’s Office and on the Registrar’s website.

If the ASC approves a petition for late withdrawal, the grade of W will be recorded on the student’s transcript. A grade of W does not indicate whether or not a student was in good standing in the course at the time of the late withdrawal. The Academic Standards Committee will require students to present compelling evidence that the circumstances which served as grounds for the late withdrawal are resolved prior to returning to CMC for the next semester.

Pass-Fail (PA-FA) Grades

Pass-Fail (PA-FA) grades are assigned to Physical Education courses (non-credit).

No Grade Submitted (NGS) Grade

The NGS grade is a symbol used exclusively by the Registrar to indicate on official documents the failure of the instructor to submit grades for one or more students. This is a temporary grade that is replaced normally by the final grade assigned by the instructor. This grade may never be used for a graduating senior. It may only be used under extenuating circumstances experienced by an instructor which prevented the instructor from submitting grades in a timely manner.

Completion of Work

To be counted as work completed in a course and to be calculated in the final grade, all assignments, except for final examinations, must be turned in to the instructors by the last day of classes, unless the instructor requires otherwise in writing. Assignments may not be turned in after the scheduled time of the final examination, unless the student was granted an incomplete in the course.

Grade Changes

Grades may be changed only to correct errors on the part of the instructor. Grades may not be changed because a student completes or turns in work late, unless a petition for an Incomplete Grade was approved by the ASC. No grade recorded for a student at CMC shall be changed after a period of one year dating from the end of the semester in which the course was taken. A faculty request to change a grade that affects any decision made by the ASC must be approved by that Committee.

Instructors who wish to change a student’s grade must inform the Registrar in writing and must include a brief explanation in a signed and dated document.

Grade Disputes

The instructor is the person best qualified to determine the quality of work in a course and is responsible for submitting the final grade at the end of the semester. However, if a student believes that the assigned grade does not fairly reflect the quality of the work completed, the student may initiate a grade dispute procedure as follows:

  1. The student must first talk with the instructor. If an error has been made, the instructor may submit a grade change in writing to the Registrar.
  2. If, after talking with the instructor, the student is still not satisfied that the work has been fairly appraised, the student may appeal to the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean will then discuss the matter with the instructor and the appropriate department chair.
  3. If a satisfactory conclusion still cannot be reached, the Dean will appoint a committee consisting of the chair of the department involved, a member of the ASC, and a third person chosen from a list of three tenured faculty members submitted by the student. This committee will make a recommendation to the ASC. The ASC will render a final decision, which will be binding on all parties and which will be reported in writing to the Registrar, the student, and the instructor.

Grade Disputes and Academic Dishonesty in Cross-Registration Situations

By actions of the Academic Deans Committee, the policies governing grade disputes in cross-registration situations are as follows:

  1. Students charged with academic dishonesty in a course taken outside their home college shall be tried according to the procedures for handling such cases at the home institution of the student. Faculty members are obligated to accept the decision of the student’s college, and may not impose a penalty should the appropriate hearing panel fail to find guilt. Any student grievance concerning a grade given by an instructor as a result of such a hearing decision will also be handled according to the rules of the student’s home college (ADC, December 23, 1975).
  2. All other disputes and grievances concerning grades are handled by the procedures of the college sponsoring the course (ADC, November 20, 1974).

Academic Advisory and Low Grade Notices

In order to provide an early indication of students’ performance in courses, instructors are invited, though not required, to submit an academic advisory or low grades notice to the Registrar. Faculty are asked to submit notices for any students whose cumulative work in a course is at a level of C- (5.0) or below, who are not attending regularly, or who are otherwise failing to meet the instructor’s expectations. Notices are normally sent out at the midpoint of the semester, prior to the deadline to drop a course without record; copies are sent to faculty advisors and the Dean of Students. Instructors are not required to submit notices, and in some courses students may not have submitted enough work by the middle of the semester for meaningful evaluation.  Students receiving notices should consult with their academic advisors as well as with the instructors of the appropriate courses to discuss strategies for improvement.


All academic work for which students register for credit at Claremont McKenna College becomes part of a student’s academic record and is included on the CMC transcript, unless a student withdraws from a course by the regular deadline for withdrawal from courses. Requests for transcripts must be made through the online transcript request system. Transcripts are issued only when obligations to the College have been paid in full or satisfactory arrangements have been made to do so.