Academic Standards and Grades

Academic Standards and Grades

Academic Standards and Grades

The grading system of the University is:

Grade Quality Points Level of Performance
A 4.0 exceptional attainment
B+ 3.5 superior work
B 3.0 good work
C+ 2.5 above adequate work
C 2.0 adequate work
F 0 failure to meet course standards

Incomplete Grades
The Incomplete Grade (I) is a temporary grade indicating that work in the course was acceptable, though a significant or critical part of it was not completed due to illness or other serious circumstances beyond the student’s control. It is the student’s responsibility to verify these conditions. The “I” grade may not be used to extend time for course work or for the convenience of the student or faculty member. Incomplete coursework must be submitted to the instructor no later than 30 days after the end of the semester in which the “I” is given. If not completed, the “I” grade is changed to a grade of F.

Students who are working on special projects that carry into other semesters or on theses should not register for credit until the semester when completion appears likely. While on the transcript, I grades will carry no academic penalty.

Pass-Fail Option
Some programs offer pass-fail options. A student must attain a minimum of a C grade to receive a Pass (Pa) for the course.

Repeated Courses
Students who earn a C or F in a course may repeat that course. Courses that are repeated will be re-graded as PASS (PA) or FAIL (F). Students earning at least a C will be re-graded as a PASS (PA) for the course, students earning a F will be regraded as F (F). When the re grade is either PA or F, the original grade is converted to a R (REPEAT). A PASS is not calculated in the GPA; however, a grade of F on the repeated course is calculated in the GPA.

Grade Appeals
In all cases it shall be assumed that the grade assigned is correct; the student appealing the grade must justify the need for a change of the grade assigned. A grade may only be appealed if the final grade issued for a class does not reflect what the student has earned according to the grading criteria outlined by the course instructor. Grade appeals may not be based upon a request to have submitted work re-evaluated by the instructor. An appeal must be initiated within 45 days after the close of the semester in which the grade was earned (or 45 days into the fall semester for grades issued during the previous spring semester). 

If a student believes that a final grade issued is not reflective of the grading criteria outlined by the course instructor he/she should first meet with the instructor to discuss the final grade. If this meeting does not resolve the issue, a formal grade appeal may be submitted through the Office of the Provost for review by the appropriate College Dean. This is a formal appeal and should be submitted as such. The document should be prepared using a word processing application and should be concise. The appeal should include all pertinent facts and should clearly state the basis on which the student is making the appeal. A copy of the course syllabus and copies of all relative assignments and exams should be attached to the appeal. 

Once the appeal has been received the instructor involved will be informed of the grade appeal and must submit a written statement in response. After considering both statements, the College Dean will make a recommendation to the Provost, who will make the final decision. The Office of the Provost will notify both the student and instructor of the final decision. 

Calculating Grade Point Average
Grade points are earned according to the above grading scale for each credit attempted. Under the grading system, a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credits attempted. The resulting number is the student’s Grade Point Average. 


Grade Grade Points   Credits   Total Grade Points
A 4 * 3 = 12
C 2 * 3 = 6
C+ 2.5 * 3 = 7.5
F 0 * 2 = 0
Totals 8.5 * 11 = 25.5

Grade Point Average Formula
25.5 ÷ 11 = 2.32 GPA

Academic Progress
All students are expected and encouraged to sustain satisfactory progress in their studies at the University.

Satisfactory academic progress for a full-time student requires:

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 75% of attempted credit hours in the full academic year. Financial Aid may be affected by lack of academic progress (see section on Financial Aid).
  • Earning a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of a 3.0. However, maintenance of the GPA established by the department/ program in which the student is enrolled is also required. 

Academic Dismissal
If a student continues to earn less than satisfactory academic progress, the student will be dismissed from the University for no less than one academic year. Readmission after dismissal is most unusual and only for compelling reasons and subject to Department Chair’s discretion.

Definitions of academic progress for the award of financial aid may differ from academic policies. Please refer to student financial services for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) guidelines. 

Academic Forgiveness
For the student who has not been enrolled at the University for more than five (5) years and who currently demonstrates the ability to do well academically, an Academic Forgiveness policy is available. Essentially, Academic Forgiveness removes the effects of earlier unsatisfactory grades and the cumulative GPA is reset at 0.00. Students who wish to be considered for Academic Forgiveness must make an appointment with the University Registrar to determine eligibility and the impact of invoking the policy. Given the many dimensions of this policy and mindful of the fact that this policy may be applied only one time, consultation with an advisor is recommended.

Graduation Awards
To be considered for a graduation award, a student must complete all coursework by the date of commencement, including student teaching, internships and externships. Candidates for non divisional/departmental awards must be cleared by the Registrar’s Office as having no more than one-year of transfer credit counting toward the graduation requirement. Candidates must also be cleared by the Student Conduct Office as having no serious or recent discipline issues. Full-time faculty, staff and administrators nominate students for the top awards of the University and divisional/departmental faculty nominate students for divisional awards.

Sister Eustace Taylor Graduate Student Award
Each of the seven graduate Programs, under the direction and guidance of the Program Director, select the graduate student in their respective Program for this award. The criteria for selection are GPA and overall contribution to the respective College. 

National Honor Societies
Mercyhurst has active societies honoring those outstanding students who possess the ideals of the honor society.

  • ALPHA PHI SIGMA: National criminal justice honor society
  • DELTA MU DELTA: National honor society in business
  • KAPPA DELTA PI: National honor society, Education
  • PI SlGMA ALPHA: National honor society, Political Science
  • PI ALPHA is the national Physician Assistant honor society
  • SIGMA TAU DELTA: This national honor society confers distinction for high academic achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies