Graduate Grading Policy


Columbia College is committed to fairness and transparency in assessment of graduate students' work and grading practices. This policy is intended to provide information on the College’s system for assigning various grades for graduate work, computing grade point averages (GPAs), changing grades, appealing grades, and repeating courses.


This policy applies to all graduate students at Columbia College.  


Graduate Grading System

Columbia College records letter grades for course work. Grades for graduate courses include:

A: Outstanding performance
B: Average performance
C: Less than acceptable performance
F Significant performance failure with no academic credit or quality points awarded

Other grades include:

W: Withdrawn. Awarded when a student officially withdraws from a course, or when an instructor withdraws a student from a course. Students may not withdraw from a course after the sixth week has been completed.

WE: Excused from the course for extraordinary circumstances. Generally, “extraordinary circumstances” is narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s ability to control that prevent continued attendance in all classes (death of an immediate family member, a change in the student’s employment, and mental or physical illness befalling the student or a member of his/her immediate family).

A request for a grade of WE must be accompanied by a letter from the student explaining the circumstances. In addition, substantiating documentation must be provided. A grade of WE may be requested anytime during the term of enrollment, and all courses currently enrolled in must be included in the WE request.

A grade of WE is not automatic and is subject to review and approval.

S: Awarded to a student showing satisfactory progress on culminating experience.

I: Assignment of an Incomplete is reserved for extraordinary circumstances that prevent a student from completing the requirements of a course by the end of the session. “Extraordinary circumstances” is narrowly interpreted to mean unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond the student’s control that prevents continued attendance in all classes (death of an immediate family member, a change in the student’s employment, mental or physical illness befalling the student or a member of the immediate family). The request for an Incomplete must be initiated by the student by filling out the Incomplete Grade Request Form. Only the instructor may grant an incomplete.

If a student receives an Incomplete, he/she must complete required course work by the end of the following two eight-week sessions. Extensions beyond one session must be approved by the Dean of the student’s School.

The student is responsible for this deadline. Incompletes that are not finished are to be automatically recorded as an F unless the instructor submits a grade change form. The student is responsible for understanding the impact of that grade on his or her status at the college should he or she be unable to complete the remaining work.

When incomplete work in a course is completed, the instructor is responsible for processing the grade change form to the earned grade. The instructor who assigns the Incomplete is responsible for grading any work that is completed in the agreed upon timeframe. However, should the instructor be physically unable to complete the work, the grade will be assigned by a qualified instructor who will be selected either by the department chair or the dean of the school in which the course is housed. In both nationwide venues and the online program, directors will ensure that the responsible instructor is completing the work that is outstanding, or will find a qualified instructor to complete the grading.

Students enrolled in EDUC 508 - Integrative Project and EDUC 608 - Education Leadership Practicum are exempt from this policy.

Graduate credit is awarded only for courses designated as graduate courses and the graduate grade point average is computed based on those courses. Undergraduate credit is given only for courses designated as undergraduate courses. A grade of B or higher is expected in all graduate and undergraduate course work.

Change of Grade

A change in grade may be made when either a computational error by the instructor or processing error have occurred. A request for a grade change must be made within 60 calendar days of the grade being issued. Requests are honored only when approved by the Dean of the student’s school (Day Campus), or Associate Vice President of Columbia College Global (CCG) or designee; or Vice President for Online Education or designee.

Repeating a Course

Courses may be repeated at Columbia College in an attempt to improve grades. The grade earned the second time the course is taken is used to determine the grade-point average, and the first grade is identified as R (Repeat) on the transcript. The first grade does not figure in the total hours or the grade-point average. In all cases, the second grade is the one that is recorded. No duplicate credit is given. Additionally, students who use federal financial aid assistance must check with the Center for Student Success to determine financial liability when repeating a course.

Grade Appeal

Grade appeals should be filed only when it is possible to demonstrate with substantial objective evidence that an incorrect or an unfair grade has been assigned. If a student believes that the final grade received in any course is incorrect or unfair, he or she follows the grade appeal procedure outlined below:

  • Appeal must be submitted within 60 calendar days after the grade has been issued by the Registrar.
  • The appeal is first made to the faculty member (instructor) involved.
  • If not satisfied with the faculty member’s explanation or decision, then the final appeal is made to the Dean of the appropriate school. This decision is final.
  • If the Dean denies the appeal, then the student is informed.  
  • If a change in grade or academic standing results, the Dean notifies the Registrar of the new grade by using the change of grade form.