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.
The College uses the 4-point grading system under which grade points for full courses are assigned as follows:
Grade points for one-half (0.5) credit courses with a grade are adjusted in accordance with the credit granted for the course. Note that transcripts printed prior to the fall 2021 semester employ a 12-point grading scale (the 4-point scale multiplied by a factor of 3).
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.
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. 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 of course units required for graduation.
CR-NC petitions are available from the Registrar and require approval from the relevant instructor(s) and advisor(s). Petitions must be completed in full and returned to the Registrar no later than the voluntary withdrawal deadline.
Courses taken on a CR-NC basis are graded as follows:
- CR (Credit): Grade of C or better
- NC (No-Credit): Grade of C- or below
High Pass/Pass/Not Passed (HP/P/NP) Grades
Grades of High Pass (HP), Pass (P), or Not Passed (NP) are assigned in courses where letter grades are not permitted. Grade points are not awarded for courses graded HP/P/NP. Courses completed with High-Pass (HP) or Pass (P) are counted toward the total number of course units required for graduation, provided the course is credit-bearing.
High-Pass/Pass/No-Pass grades are also used for non-credit physical education courses, challenge examinations, and internships, except for the semester internships in the Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley programs.
Courses taken on the HP/P/NP basis are graded as follows:
- HP (High Pass): Grade of C or better, with commendation
- P (Pass): Grade of C or better
- NP (Not Passed): Grade of C- or below
In Progress (IP) Grades
This grade applies to courses that are currently in progress, including the first semester of 2-semester sequence courses, such as year-long senior theses. IP grades are replaced with permanent grades at the conclusion of the appropriate session.
Incomplete (I) Grades
Students may petition for an incomplete grade when illness or other extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control 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 final assignments or final exams near the very end of the semester, after the voluntary withdrawal deadline has passed. 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. If a student with qualifying circumstances has missed a substantial amount of work, the option of a late withdrawal from the course may be more appropriate.
Incomplete petitions are considered by either the Academic Standards Committee or Accessibility Services, depending on the circumstance that forms the basis for the petition. If the basis for the petition is directly related to a documented disability, then Accessibility Services will consider the request. If the basis for the request is not related to a documented disability, then the Academic Standards Committee will consider the request. Accessibility Services may forward petitions to the ASC if it cannot approve a request based on the objective criteria outlined above and/or if the student does not qualify for consideration through Accessibility Services.
Petitions for incompletes should be submitted before the last day of classes. In cases of serious illness or emergency, the student’s petition may be 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 filing incomplete petition forms, explaining all circumstances on which requests are based, and submitting all documentation to support their requests.
The Registrar’s Office will obtain instructor input on each request. Instructors must indicate whether or not they support the petition. They must also 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 petition is not approved or the outstanding work is not completed.
Incomplete grades will be removed and replaced with appropriate grades if all work is completed by the deadline specified in the student’s decision letter. 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 the grade specified in the instructor’s original response to the petition. Students are required to comply with the terms specified in their incomplete decision letters in order to return to CMC for the subsequent semester.
Withdrawal and Late Withdrawal (W) Grades
Each semester there is a deadline for dropping courses without record published in the academic calendar, typically the 8th Thursday of the regular term. Students may drop courses via the online registration system prior to the published deadline. Courses dropped by the deadline will not appear on official transcripts. After the drop deadline, students may request to withdraw voluntarily from courses through the 12th Friday of the regular semester. This date may vary depending on holidays or other school breaks. Withdrawn courses appear on students’ transcripts with a grade of “W.” Students may not drop or withdraw from required courses, like FHS or FWS, or go below a full-time course load (3.0 course units) without permission from the Academic Standards Committee or Accessibility Services (for a documented disability directly related to the reason for the reduced course load). Similarly, students on academic probation may not drop below four full courses for a given semester without permission from the Academic Standards Committee.
After the deadline to withdraw voluntarily from courses, students may petition for a late withdrawal, if documented circumstances beyond their control prevent them from completing a course. The student must submit completed petitions to the Registrar’s Office prior to the last day of classes. Petitions must include a thorough explanation of the student’s circumstances and supporting documentation. The Registrar’s Office will obtain instructor input on each request.
Late withdrawal petitions are considered by either the Academic Standards Committee or Accessibility Services, depending on the circumstance which forms the basis for the petition. If the basis for the petition is directly related to a documented disability, then Accessibility Services will consider the request. If the basis for the request is not related to a documented disability, then the Academic Standards Committee will consider the request. Accessibility Services may forward petitions to the ASC if it cannot approve a request based on the objective criteria outlined above and/or if the student does not qualify for consideration through Accessibility Services.
Students may not request late withdrawals if they have taken the final exam or otherwise completed all major assignments for the course. Requests for late withdrawals will be considered in three situations:
If no graded work was received by the student prior to the voluntary 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.
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.
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, but prior to the final exam. In this case, the student must submit a petition for late withdrawal no later than one month into the next semester.
If the petition for late withdrawal is approved, 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. Students are required to comply with the terms specified in their late withdrawal decision letters in order to return to CMC for the subsequent semester.
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 or their equivalent, 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.
Instructors may submit grade changes to correct calculation or recording errors. 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 correct a grade that affects any decision made by the ASC must be approved by that Committee. Instructors who wish to correct a student’s grade must inform the Registrar in writing and must include a brief explanation for the change in a signed and dated document.
The instructor is the person best qualified to determine the quality of work in a course and is responsible for submitting final grades for students at the end of each semester. Students who believe a recorded grade is incorrect may request that the instructor review the grade. If the instructor discovers an error, that instructor may request a correction as described above. Instructors must reply to student requests for review within 30 days, though they have up to one year to record a correction.
If the instructor does not agree that a correction is in order, a student may challenge an assigned grade. Students may initiate a grade challenge within one year of the grade’s recording only if the student can demonstrate that the final grade was based on a substantial, unreasonable, or unannounced departure from the instructor’s articulated grading standards. Students who believe a grade was unfairly assigned due to unlawful discrimination should request a review through CMC’s Civil Rights Grievance Procedures.
To initiate a grade challenge, students must issue a formal letter to the Dean of the Faculty requesting the challenge within one year of the grade’s posting. Requests must explain the student’s grounds for the challenge and include all relevant assignments, syllabi, and correspondence supporting the student’s position. The Dean of the Faculty will request a formal response to the student’s challenge from the faculty member involved and review the matter with the appropriate department chair. The Dean will then determine whether there are grounds to proceed with further investigation or whether the grade should stand as recorded.
If the Dean of the Faculty finds grounds to proceed with the challenge, the Dean will refer the dispute to the Academic Standards Committee. Depending on the content of the course, the ASC may convene a subcommittee to review the case and/or call upon additional faculty members with expertise in the subject, as needed. The ASC will review the student’s original written request for the challenge, all assignments submitted, the course syllabus, the response from the faculty member, and any other relevant documentation or correspondence it deems necessary. The ASC will render a final decision on the grade and report the outcome to The Registrar’s Office, which will in turn inform the relevant parties of the outcome. The ASC’s decision is final and binding on all parties.
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:
- 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).
- 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 encouraged, though not required, to submit an academic advisory or low grade 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, the Dean of Students, and 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 drops a course by the deadline to drop without record. Requests for transcripts must be made through the online transcript request system.