Credit And Grading System

Grading system

The UC systems adopts the following grading scale

A Excellent
B Good
C Fair
D Barely Passed / Poor
F Failed
P Passed at a minimum level of C-: classes with P grades count toward your unit requirements for a degree but do not apply to your GPA.
NP Not Passed
S Satisfactory or passed at a minimum level of B-: classes with S grades count toward your unit requirements for a degree but do not apply to your GPA.
U Unsatisfactory
I Work incomplete: indicates that you have requested extra time to complete a class because of circumstances beyond your control (e.g., illness or a family emergency). If you don't complete the class, an Incomplete will become a permanent F, NP, or U.
IP In Progress: classes that extend over more than one quarter.
W Withdraw: it doesn't affect your GPA. It is assigned if you drop a class or withdraw from UCSD between the beginning of the fifth week and the end of the ninth week of classes or if you drop certain labs after the second scheduled meeting. (If you withdraw before these deadlines, the class doesn't appear on your academic history.)

A, B, C and D can be modified by a + or - sign.

Most of the professors grade their students according to a curved scale, so that at every test the same percentage of students gets an A, a B, and so on. Just a couple of examples, taken at UCSD:

  • in Math 20F
    • 25% of students get a grade in the As (A+/A/A-)
    • 35% a grade in the Bs
    • 30% in the Cs
    • the remaining 10% gets a D or fail;
  • in MAE 101 (Fluid Mechanics) the professor set the class average between B and C, the average plus standard deviation between B and A, the average minus standard deviation between C and D, obtaining that
    • 20% gets an A
    • 30% gets a B
    • 38% gets a C
    • 9% gets a D
    • 3% fails.

You get a W if you drop a class after the allowed deadline.

The GPA measures your performance during all your term, year or college and it's the weighed average (weighed on the exam credits) of every grade, where the letter grade is converted to a number in the following way:

B+ = 3.3 C+ = 2.3 D+ = 1.3
A+/A = 4 B = 3 C = 3 D = 1
A- = 3.7 B- = 2.7 C- = 1.7

When you enroll in a class you can decide to take that class with a PASS / NO PASS grade instead of a letter grade. That class won't move your GPA.

In undergraduate classes you should never get less than C. In a graduate class professors tend not to give less than B-. Moreover, in graduate classes the grading is usually not curved.

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