Graduate Grading System


When a student registers in a graduate (500- and 600-level ) course, one of the following grades will appear on the academic record. Grades are based on the level of performance and represent the extent of the student's demonstrated mastery of the material listed in the course outline and achievement of the stated course objectives. These are CSM's grade symbols and their qualitative interpretations:

Symbol Interpretation
A Acceptable for Graduate Credit
A- Acceptable for Graduate Credit
B+ Acceptable for Graduate Credit
B Acceptable for Graduate Credit
B- May be Acceptable for Graduate Credit
C+ May be Acceptable for Graduate Credit
C May be Acceptable for Graduate Credit
C- May be Acceptable for Graduate Credit
D+ Not Acceptable for Graduate Credit
D Not Acceptable for Graduate Credit
D- Not Acceptable for Graduate Credit
F Failed
S Satisfactory (C- or better, used as a mid-term grade)
U Unsatisfactory (below C-, used as a mid-term grade)
INC Incomplete
PRG Satisfactory Progress
PRU Unsatisfactory Progress

Graduate students enrolled in undergraduate-level courses (400-level and below) are graded using the undergraduate grading system, but any undergraduate course taken while a graduate student will appear on the graduate level transcript and will impact the graduate level G.P.A.. See the Mines Undergraduate Catalog for a description of this system.

Any undergraduate taking graduate level credit must complete the 500 level form and agree to the specific terms selected.

  • Students requesting the credit for undergraduate credit or those who do not qualify to have the credits listed on the graduate transcripts will have the credit listed on the undergraduate transcripts and the credit will impact the undergraduate G.P.A.     
  • Students who request the credit for graduate credit only and meet the qualifications to have the credits listed on the graduate level transcript will have the credits listed on the graduate level transcripts and the credits will impact the graduate level G.P.A.    

In addition to these performance symbols, the following is a list of additional registration symbols that may appear on a Mines transcript:

Symbol Interpretation
WI Involuntarily Withdrawn
W Withdrew, No Penalty
T Transfer Credit
NC Not for Credit
Z Grade not yet Submitted

Incomplete Grade

If a graduate student fails to complete a course because of illness or other reasonable excuse, the student receives a grade of Incomplete (INC), a temporary grade which indicates a deficiency in the quantity of work done.

A grade of INC must be removed no later than the end of the fourth week of the first major term of attendance following that in which it was received.  A grade of INC will be converted to an F grade by the Registrar in the fifth week if it has not been updated by the professor by the end of the fourth week.

Graduating students must have all incomplete grades changed within 10 business days after graduation.

Satisfactory Progress Grades

A graduate student may receive a grade of Satisfactory Progress, PRG, in either one of three possible situations:

  1. As a passing grade given in a course that is graded pass-fail,
  2. As a grade for a course extending more than one semester or
  3. As a grade indicating completion of research credit hours.

When applied to pass-fail courses, the Satisfactory Progress grade, PRG, indicates successful completion of the requirements of the course. A grade of Unsatisfactory Progress, PRU, as applied to pass-fail courses, indicates the student failed to meet the requirements for successful completion the course. The PRG and PRU grades have no point value toward a student's GPA. As described in the Unsatisfactory Academic Performance portion of this Catalog receipt of a PRU grade indicates unsatisfactory progress toward degree completion and will trigger academic disciplinary proceedings.

For students completing independent study or seminar courses extending over multiple semesters, the progress grade has no point value. In such cases, the student receives a grade of PRG, which indicates that the work is not yet completed. For multi-semester independent study courses, upon completion of course requirements, final grades are assigned to all semesters in which the student enrolled in the course, replacing previous PRG grades as appropriate. In seminar courses which may not be repeated for credit, even if continuous enrollment is required by the degree program, the PRG grade remains with a final grade being assigned to last semester of attendance only.

For all multi-semester courses, independent study and seminar, students must register for the same course in each regular (Fall or Spring) semester of attendance until such time as a final grade is assigned.

When applied to research credits, the Satisfactory Progress grade, PRG, also has no point value toward a student's GPA, but indicates satisfactory progress toward completion of the research component of a student's thesis-based degree program. In this situation, a grade of PRU, Unsatisfactory Progress, may be given, and if given, indicates that a student has not made satisfactory progress toward the research component of a thesis-based degree program. In this case, receipt of a grade of PRU may trigger academic disciplinary proceedings as described in the Unsatisfactory Academic Performance portion of this Catalog.

Unless faculty submit change of grade forms to the Registrar, grades of PRU delivered for unsatisfactory research performance, are not changed to PRG upon the successful completion of a student's degree program.

NC Grade

For special reasons and with the instructor's permission, a student may register in a course for no credit (NC). To have the grade NC appear on the transcript, the student must enroll at registration time as a NC student in the course and comply with all conditions stipulated by the course instructor. If a student registered as NC fails to satisfy all conditions, no record of this registration in the course will be made.

Quality Hours and Quality Points

For graduation a student must successfully complete a certain number of required semester hours and must maintain grades at a satisfactory level. Numerical values assigned to each letter grade are given in the table below:

Grade Numerical Value
A 4.000
A- 3.700
B+ 3.300
B 3.000
B- 2.700
C+ 2.300
C 2.000
C- 1.700
D+ 1.300
D 1.000
D- 0.700
F 0.000

The number of quality points earned in any course is the number of semester hours assigned to that course multiplied by the numerical value of the grade received. The quality hours earned are the number of semester hours in which grades are awarded. To compute a grade-point average, the number of cumulative quality hours is divided into the cumulative quality points earned. Grades of W, WI, INC, PRG, PRU, or NC are not counted in quality hours.

Semester Hours

The number of times a class meets during a week (for lecture, recitation, or laboratory) determines the number of semester hours assigned to that course. Class sessions are normally 50 minutes long and represent one hour of credit for each hour meeting. A minimum of three hours of laboratory work per week are equivalent to 1-semester hour of credit. For the average student, each hour of lecture and recitation requires at least two hours of preparation.

Grade-Point Averages

Grade-Point Averages shall be specified, recorded, reported, and used to three figures following the decimal point for any and all purposes to which said averages may apply.

All graduate degree programs require students have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.000 in order to be eligible to receive the degree. All courses, including courses taken as a non-degree graduate student, undergraduate courses taken while a graduate student, deficiency courses and graduate level courses taken at the Colorado School of Mines after first enrolling in a graduate degree program are included in the calculation of the overall graduate grade point average. Grades for courses applied to a degree program as transfer credit are not included in any grade point average calculation. Specifics in calculating the overall, and other grade point averages are defined below.

Overall Grade-Point Average

The overall graduate level grade-point average includes all attempts at courses taken at Colorado School of Mines while a graduate student, either degree seeking or non-degree graduate student,  with the exception of courses completed when the repeat policy was in effect: Fall 2007 through Summer 2011.

If a course completed during the Fall 2007 term through Summer 2011 was a repeat of a course completed in any previous term and the course was not repeatable for credit, the grade and credit hours earned for the most recent occurrence of the course will count toward the student's grade-point average and the student's degree requirements. The most recent course occurrence must be an exact match to the previous course completed (subject and number). The most recent grade is applied to the overall grade-point average even if the previous grade is higher.

Courses from other institutions transferred to Colorado School of Mines are not counted in any grade-point average, and cannot be used under this repeat policy. Only courses originally completed and subsequently repeated at Colorado School of Mines during Fall 2007 through Summer 2011 with the same subject code and number apply to this repeat policy.

All occurrences of every course taken at Colorado School of Mines will appear on the official transcript along with the associated grade. Courses from other institutions transferred to Colorado School of Mines are not counted in any grade-point average.

Course and Research Grades

All candidates for graduate degrees must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken at Mines and listed on the graduate transcript. This includes both graduate and undergraduate courses. Any grade lower than “C-” is not acceptable for credit toward graduate degree requirements.

For research credits, students receive either an “In Progress-Satisfactory” or an “In Progress-Unsatisfactory” grade based on their faculty advisor’s evaluation of their work. Research grades do not enter into the calculation of the student’s grade point average.

Students who fail to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0, or who receive an In Progress-Unsatisfactory research grade are placed on academic probation by the Graduate Dean and may be subject to dismissal as defined by the Unsatisfactory Academic Performance section of this Catalog.


After completion of final grading for a term, grade changes can be processed for grade improvements only. Grade changes for any student can be accepted up to six weeks after a student's graduation date. With the exception of punitive disciplinary actions, diminution of a grade is not allowed without approval of the Provost.

Grade Appeal Process

Mines faculty have the responsibility, and sole authority for, assigning grades. As instructors, this responsibility includes clearly stating the instructional objectives of a course, defining how grades will be assigned in a way that is consistent with these objectives, and then assigning grades. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the grading criteria and then maintain the standards of academic performance established for each course in which he or she is enrolled.

If a student believes he or she has been unfairly graded, the student may appeal the grade to the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Affairs Committee is the faculty body authorized to review and modify course grades, in appropriate circumstances. Any decision made by the Faculty Affairs Committee is final. In evaluating a grade appeal, the Faculty Affairs Committee will place the burden of proof on the student. For a grade to be revised by the Faculty Affairs Committee, the student must demonstrate that the grading decision was unfair by documenting that one or more of the following conditions applied:

  1. The grading decision was based on something other than course performance; unless the grade was a result of penalty for academic dishonesty or the grade was WI (withdrawn involuntarily).
  2. The grading decision was based on standards that were unreasonably different from those applied to other students in the same section of that course.
  3. The grading decision was based on standards that differed substantially and unreasonably from those previously articulated by the instructor.

To appeal a grade, the student must proceed as follows:

  1. The student must prepare a written appeal of the grade received in the course. This appeal must clearly define the basis for the appeal and must present all relevant evidence supporting the student’s case.
  2. After preparing the written appeal, the student must deliver this appeal to the course instructor and attempt to resolve the issue directly with the instructor. Written grade appeals must be delivered to the instructor no later than 10 business days after the start of the regular (fall or spring) semester immediately following the semester in which the contested grade was received. In the event that the course instructor is unavailable, the course coordinator (first) or the Department Head/Division Director (second) will represent the instructor.
  3. If after discussion with the instructor, the student is still dissatisfied, he or she can proceed with the appeal by submitting three copies of the written appeal plus three copies of a summary of the instructor/student meetings held in connection with the previous step to the President of the Faculty Senate. These must be submitted to the President of the Faculty Senate no later than 25 business days after the start of the regular semester immediately following the semester in which the contested grade was received. The President of the Faculty Senate will forward the student's appeal and supporting documents to the Faculty Affairs Committee, the course instructor's Department Head/Division Director, and the instructor.
  4. The Faculty Affairs Committee will request a response to the appeal from the instructor and begin an investigation of the student's allegations and basis for appealing the grade. During the course of performing its investigation, the Committee may:
    1. Interview the student, the student's advisor, the course instructor and other witnesses deemed relevant to the investigation;
    2. Review all documentation related to the appeal under consideration;
    3. Secure the assistance of outside expertise, if needed; and
    4. Obtain any other information deemed necessary to consider and resolve the appeal.
      Upon request, the Faculty Affairs Committee may share summaries of testimony and other information examined by the Committee with both the student and the instructor. Certain information, however, may be redacted from materials forwarded to the student and instructor to maintain other students' rights subject to protection under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), or other state and federal law.
      Based on its investigation, the Faculty Affairs Committee will determine whether the grade should be revised. The decision rendered will be either:
      1. The original grading decision is upheld, or
      2. Sufficient evidence exists to indicate a grade has been assigned unfairly.
        In this latter case, the Faculty Affairs Committee will assign the student a new grade for the course. The Committee's written decision and supporting documentation will be delivered to the President of the Faculty Senate, the Graduate Dean, the student, the instructor, and the instructor's Department Head/Division Director no later than 25 business days following the Senate's receipt of the grade appeal. The Faculty Affairs Committee's decision shall constitute the final decision of the grade appeal. There is no further internal appeal available to the parties.

The schedule, but not the process, outlined above may be modified upon mutual agreement of the student, the instructor, and the Faculty Affairs Committee.