Grades

See also Faculty Grading Guidelines and Syllabus Standards.

Pass/Fail Option

Undergraduates may register for courses on a Pass/Fail basis. Students:

  • May not take more than one course as a Pass/Fail per semester for each full year of residence (students studying in off-campus programs through Rice are considered to be in residence for the purpose of this rule).
  • May not take more than four courses as Pass/Fail (even if they are in a five-year degree program).
  • May not take more than a total of 14 semester hours total as Pass/Fail.
  • May register for only one course as Pass/Fail in a semester.
  • May not take as Pass/Fail a repeatable course previously taken and designated as Pass/Fail.
  • May not take as Pass/Fail those courses used to meet the requirements for their major, minor, or certificate. If students take such courses Pass/Fail, students should request in writing to the Office of the Registrar that the P grade be replaced with the letter grade earned.
  • Must submit the proper online form for a course to be taken Pass/Fail no later than the posted deadline, usually the end of the 10th week of semester.
  • May not take First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminar (FWIS) courses as Pass/Fail.

Students may convert a pass/fail course to a graded course by submitting the proper online form with the Office of the Registrar, and must adhere to the pass/fail deadlines as stated in the Academic Calendar. Students wishing to designate a course as pass/fail during the summer sessions should see Registration During Summer Sessions.

Students should be aware that while a grade of P does not affect their grade point average, a grade of F is counted as a failure and is included in their GPA. Students who take a course during the Rice summer session as pass/fail also should be aware that this counts toward their allowable total of four courses. For more information, see The Pass/Fail Option.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Satisfactory/unsatisfactory courses are those that do not use traditional grading procedures and instead assign a grade of S or U rather than a letter grade. Such courses or labs are designated by the instructor and are, in most cases, graduate level courses. With S/U courses, instructors report the S if the student successfully completes the course, or the U if they have not. Students should be aware that while a grade of S or U does not affect their grade point average, no credit will be awarded if a grade of U is received. Courses with a grade of S will count towards total credits earned.

Audit

Students have the option of auditing courses. For auditing students, instructors report either the AUD or the NC grade symbol, the AUD if the student met the audit requirements of the class, or the NC if they have not. There are no credit hours associated with audited courses, and auditing a course does not affect a student's GPA. Request to audit a class or to change from audit to credit or vice versa must be done by the dates and deadlines documented in the posted Academic Calendar. (See Grade Designations AUD and NC below.)

Grade Symbols

Instructors are required to report a grade for all students whose names appear on the class roster. They grade their students using the following conventional symbols: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F.

Grade Designations

Under certain circumstances, special designations accompany the student’s grade. These designations do not affect the grade point average. The special designations include the following:

AUD (“Audit”)

This designation is only used for students auditing the course, and specifically where the auditing student has met the audit requirements of the course as defined by the instructor. A grade designation of "NC" (No Credit) is given to students who do not meet the audit requirements. There are no credit hours associated with an AUD grade designation. (See Audit above.)

INC (“Incomplete”)

Instructors report this designation to the Office of the Registrar when a student fails to complete a course because of verified illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control that occur during the semester. Students must provide independent corroboration of their illness or circumstances, and they are expected to coordinate with the instructor prior to final grades being submitted. For an INC received in the fall semester, students must complete the work by the end of the first week of the spring semester or an earlier date as defined by the instructor, and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the second week. For an INC received in the spring or summer semester, students must complete the work before the start of the fall semester or an earlier date as defined by the instructor, and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the first week. If a grade is not submitted by the appropriate deadline, the INC will be automatically converted to a failing grade.

Students with an INC must be certain that tests, papers, and other materials affecting their grade or essential to completing a course requirement are delivered by hand to the appropriate professor or office according to the timeline previously stated, for the instructor to grade the documents and submit the final grade to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline. Loss or lateness because of mail service is not an acceptable excuse for failing to meet academic deadlines. Students also should be aware that they may be placed on probation or suspension when the INC is changed to a grade, either by an instructor or by default.

NC (“No Credit”)

This designation signals that no credit was granted for the course. It is used in situations where a person auditing a course has not met the audit requirements of the course as defined by the instructor. (See Audit above.)

NG (“No Grade”)

This designation signals that no credit was granted for the course, and no grade was submitted by the instructor.  As a non-punitive grade, the NG is applied administratively and used in rare situations.

OT (“Other”)

Instructors report this designation to the Office of the Registrar when a student fails to appear for the final examination after completing all the other required work for the course. An OT awarded during a fall semester must be resolved and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the first week of the spring semester. An OT awarded during a spring semester must be resolved and instructors must submit a revised grade by the end of the fourth week after Commencement. An OT awarded during a summer semester must be resolved and instructors must submit a revised grade by the start of orientation week.  If a grade is not submitted by the appropriate deadline, the OT will be automatically converted to a failing grade. Students should be aware that they may be placed on probation or suspension when the OT is changed to a grade, either by an instructor or by default.

W (“Official Withdrawal from University”)

Students who officially withdraw from the university after the designated drop deadline, the seventh week of classes, will receive a final grade of “W” for each course in which they were enrolled at the time of withdrawal.

Students who officially withdraw from the university by the drop deadline will not receive the grade of “W” for any courses in which they were enrolled for that semester. These courses will not be included on the official transcript.

W (“Late Drop with Approval”)

A student who receives approval from the Committee on Examinations and Standing to drop a course after the designated drop deadline will receive a grade of “W” for that course. When requests for late drops are denied by the committee, the Office of the Registrar records the submitted grade.

If a student drops a class before the designated drop deadline for the semester, the course will not be included on his/her official transcript. New matriculants in their first semester at Rice may drop a class up until the last day of classes, and through the end of week ten in their second semester, if that is a full-term Spring semester, and the course will not be included on the student’s official transcript.

XII ("Article XII")

This designation was used in various honor council or judicial cases when a student had opted to voluntarily withdraw from the university and forfeit credit for the course in question, with the understanding that the accusation would not otherwise be pursued. This option is no longer available.

Grade Points 

To compute grade point average, letter grades are assigned numeric values as follows:

Letter Grade Numeric Value
A+ 4.331
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
F 0.00

Grade Point Average Calculation

For each course carrying standard letter grades, the credit hours attempted and the points for the grade earned are multiplied. The grade points for each course are added together, and the sum is divided by the total credit hours attempted. Grade point averages are noted each semester on the student’s official transcripts. Courses taken on a S/U or pass/fail basis are excluded from the grade point average calculation.