Grades, Grade Points, and Credit Hours
- AP, IB, Cambridge Exam
- Credit by Examination
- Credit for ROTC Courses
- Credit Hour System
- Dean's List
- Examinations and Re-Examinations
- Grade Appeal Procedure
- Grades and Grade Points
- Grades (Midterm)
- Graduation Requirements (Grade Hours Passed or Completed)
- Obsolete Academic Records
- Pass/Fail Grading System
- Repeat Course Policy
- Study Week
- Transfer Credits
- "W" Grade Policy
Virginia Tech awards AP, IB, Cambridge Exam equivalencies after faculty review of content and applicable Virginia Tech credit. In accordance with state policy, Virginia Tech accepts credit from Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge Exam based on annual faculty and university program review.
Credit, not to exceed 12 semester hours, may be allowed by special examination where exceptional command of a subject can be demonstrated in lieu of formal course work. This privilege is not available to a student who has previously audited or enrolled in the course, or has previously attempted credit by examination in the course. If credit by examination is deemed appropriate, the offering department shall have full responsibility for determining the type of examination to be given and what constitutes a passing grade.
Credit established by examination may not be used to satisfy the in-residence requirements for graduation. No grades or quality credits will be assigned.
There is a per-credit fee for the examination. The current fee is $10.00 per credit hour and is subject to change at the beginning of an academic year. Only currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible for special examinations allowing university credit. Official approval must be obtained from the head of the department offering the course.
In some majors, not all ROTC courses may be applied toward a bachelor's degree. Students should consult their approved major checksheet for specific information on which courses will count toward their degree.
Virginia Tech uses the credit-hour as its unit of credit in the semester calendar system. Course descriptions under the departments of instruction (in the chapters on the various colleges) indicate the number of credits received per term.
Undergraduate students who attempt at least 12 credit hours with all credits graded on the A-F option and who earn a 3.4 GPA for either spring or fall semester will be included on the Dean's List for that term. The Deans' Lists are not compiled for summer sessions. Any notifications or certificates indicating inclusion on the Dean's List for a particular term are issued by the student's academic dean.
Final examinations are held at the close of each term according to a schedule established by the university. An instructor may not change the date or time of a final exam without the approval of the dean of the college. Students may request permission from their college dean to reschedule a final exam if they have conflicting exams or if they have three final exams in 24 hours. Otherwise, permission to reschedule a final exam is granted by the dean only in very unusual circumstances. Deferred final exams may be authorized only by the student's academic dean or by the Schiffert Health Services.
Re-examination of one final exam is available only for students who are candidates for degree in the same term as the final exam.
After a term is over, a re-examination in one course in which the final grade earned is C- or below may be authorized if the student was enrolled in the course during the final term of his or her senior year and if a satisfactory re-examination in the course will qualify the student for graduation. The student must make the re-examination request to the dean and must complete the exam as soon as possible after the first examination.
For the student to be granted a re-examination, approval is required by the instructor, the student's department head, and the student's academic dean. In determining the validity of the student's request, consideration is given to class performance and completion of assigned work. The University Registrar provides verification of compliance with the requirements of this policy.
As Per University policy, the assignment of a grade is the sole prerogative of the instructor of the class. It is incumbent on the instructor to establish the criteria for grading in the syllabus that is distributed at the beginning of the term. All grades are to be based on established grading criteria and not on personal conduct or opinions unrelated to academic standards. An individual student may not do extra work to raise his/her grade. If a student feels that a grade has been calculated incorrectly or has been assigned in a prejudiced or capricious manner, the student should discuss the matter with the instructor. If discussion between the instructor and the student cannot resolve the issue, the student should appeal to the department/division head. In the unusual circumstance that resolution does not occur at the departmental/divisional level, the student may appeal to the college dean who will attempt to reconcile the matter by whatever mechanism seems most appropriate for that college and for that case. A grade appeal must be made by the student as soon as possible but no later than the end of the student's subsequent term of enrollment after the grade in question has been assigned.
The academic achievement of a student in a specific course is rated as follows:
Grade Points for each hour
|D- (Barely Passing)
|NG (No Grade)
|NR (Not Reported)
|RP (Repeated Course)
|S (Satisfactory/credits only)
|W (Course Withdrawn)
|X (Continuing Course)
Midterm grades are produced for freshmen and transfer students whose first term of enrollment is fall semester. Beginning Fall 1996, students whose first term of enrollment is summer will also receive a midterm grade report during fall semester. "Satisfactory" is given for work earning a grade of C or better and "unsatisfactory" is given for work earning a grade of C- or below. The midterm grade is not part of the student's permanent academic record and is only intended to be an early indication of the student's progress.
The "total credits" figure on the displayed grade report is not necessarily the same as the total hours (often referenced as hours passed) required for completion of the degree (not all credit hours are effective toward graduation requirements). Students are responsible for verifying required hours for completion by reviewing their degree analysis (DARS) with their advisor.
Listed below are a few examples of typical situations yielding "pass" hours which must be subtracted to determine the total credits useful toward graduation requirements:
- Transfer and/or advanced placement credits that have been subsequently duplicated by courses at Virginia Tech.
- Credits earned at Virginia Tech that have been duplicated by repeating courses or taking courses ruled to have duplicating credit.
- Transfer credits allowed from a two-year college that are in excess of one-half of the total credit hour requirement for the curriculum.
- Credits for Physical Education Service Activities courses (now listed under HNFE), which exceed a total of two, the maximum allowed toward a bachelor's degree.
- Credits for military science that exceed the total specified by the college for the student's curriculum.
- Credits on the pass/fail grading system that exceed 12 credit hours allowable exclusive of pass/fall only courses.
- Credits for courses that do not count towards the degree, (e.g. UNIV 1004 College Success Strategies)..
Under the "Obsolete Academic Records Policy," former Virginia Tech students returning to the university after an absence of at least five years may request in writing to have their academic records evaluated by the appropriate academic dean. Such transcripts will be evaluated in the same manner that transfer student transcripts are considered; credits will be allowed only for those courses appropriate for the degree. The grades for these allowable courses will not be factored into the student's GPA, but all courses will remain part of the student's permanent record.
A limited pass/fail (P/F) grading system is available to encourage students to enrich their academic programs and explore more challenging courses outside their majors, without the pressures and demands of the regular grading system. The P/F grading option is available to all undergraduates who have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours at Virginia Tech and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above. These restrictions do not apply to courses that are only offered P/F. No required course or course used for the Curriculum for Liberal Education may be taken on a "P/F" basis (unless only offered on a P/F basis).
Under the pass/fail system students are allowed to attempt twelve (12) credit hours in their degree program on a pass/fail basis exclusive of courses only offered pass/fail. Students enrolled in five-year designated programs (College of Architecture and Urban Studies) may attempt twelve (12) credit hours or ten percent of the total hours required for the degree whichever is greater. Courses offered pass/fail only are not included in the twelve total hours allowable under the pass/fail system. Additional degree programs may not be used to increase the number of pass/fail credits that a student is permitted to use toward any degree. No more than two courses per term may be taken P/F, excluding physical education activity courses and required courses offered on a P/F basis only.
Under the P/F grading system, a "P" is granted for earning a "D" or better in the course; otherwise, an "F" is given. A "D-" is a failing grade under the P/F option. The "P" or "F" is recorded on the student's transcript and credit is given if the course is passed. If the course is failed, the "F" is considered equivalent to an "F" received under the "A-F" grading system and is included in calculation of the grade point average (GPA). Once credit is received for a course taken under the P/F system, the course cannot be repeated under the "A-F" grading system.
Any course to be taken under the P/F option should be designated as such upon request for the course. The student may change grading options to P/F until the drop deadline and to A-F until the deadline for resigning without penalty.
Beginning Fall 2016 students may only attempt to repeat a course three times. An "attempt" is when a student is enrolled in a course on the last day to add courses during each semester. Courses designated as repeatable credit (to the limit allowed) are excluded from this policy (e.g. independent studies, internships, etc.).
All course repeats should be done in consultation with a student's academic advisor. Any student who enrolls for a fourth attempt will be dropped from the course. If a student's extenuating circumstances prevent successful completion of the course on a third attempt, the student may appeal (petition) to repeat the course again. For more information regarding the appeals process, please refer to your academic dean's office.
Repeating a course subsequent times may affect financial aid and eligibility for certain programs. Students receiving financial aid should check with University Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine what, if any, financial aid implications there are for repeating courses. Veterans, athletes and international students may have additional rules associated with course repeats. Check with the appropriate department for additional information.
Study week refers to the last three calendar days of classes for each semester. All written work, with the exceptions noted below, should be assigned so that it can be graded and returned during a regularly scheduled class meeting of the term. In-class hour-long examinations or other major in-class written assignments or tests shall not be given during study week. The exceptions for undergraduate courses are:
- Dates for turning in term papers and project reports may be set at the discretion of the instructor, provided that the student is not to be held responsible on the final examination for the subject matter therein.
- In laboratory courses or other courses that do not warrant a final examination during the examination period, an examination, if required by the department and/or instructor, may be given during the last regularly scheduled laboratory or class period.
- Regularly scheduled final examinations, when special permission has been granted by the dean of the appropriate college.
Graduate courses also have specific exceptions which may differ from those for undergraduate courses. Contact the Graduate School for details.
Enrolled students in good standing at Virginia Tech must receive pre-approval from their academic dean's office to transfer credit to Virginia Tech. Pre-approval from the academic dean does not guarantee transfer of the course if the student has duplicate credit in the approved course. Students must review their degree requirements (viewing DARS) to assure credits are degree applicable. Students who have been placed on academic or judicial suspension by the University are not eligible to transfer credit for terms of enrollment that coincide with their suspension term(s).
The rules below govern the transfer of credit on a university level. Some colleges at Virginia Tech have additional policies and procedures regarding transfer credit. Students are responsible for consulting with the academic dean's office in the appropriate college to discuss their plans to transfer credit, and to request information on the college's specific policies and procedures regarding transfer.
- Courses for transfer must be taken at an accredited college or university.
- Courses must be college-parallel, not terminal courses in a vocational program.
- Only courses with a "C" grade or better will transfer. Note: A "C-" will not transfer.
- Credits will not transfer for students who are classified as non-degree-seeking students.
- Course equivalencies will be determined by the Office of the University Registrar.
- Credit hours transfer; grades do not transfer.
- No more than 60 (sixty) semester hours may transfer from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
- Of the last 45 semester hours before graduation, a maximum of 18 semester hours may be transfer hours.
- Many colleges and universities will require a letter of good standing from Virginia Tech before they will enroll a student from another university who wishes to transfer credits back. Virginia Tech students can request this letter certifying their good standing by completing a "Request for Certification" form in the Office of the University Registrar.
- Upon completion of the course(s) and posting of grades, students are responsible for requesting that an official transcript be sent directly to the Office of the University Registrar at Virginia Tech as soon as possible, but not later than two semesters after the work is completed.
The policy is intended to assist undergraduate students who find themselves enrolled in undergraduate level courses for which they are insufficiently prepared, or for those who initially enroll in majors that they subsequently change. This policy allows currently enrolled students to designate a grading option of "CW" to a course. Courses with this option are not gradable but remain on the academic transcript with the letter grade of "W". A maximum of three (3) courses (regardless of credit) may be dropped beyond the normal six-week drop deadline date during a student's undergraduate academic career at Virginia Tech subject to the following stipulations:
- Students must formally request to apply the W Grade option to a course by the last day of classes of each term. The deadline appears in the deadlines listing of the online Time Table of Classes.
- Courses with the new grade mode of "W" will appear on the transcript with a "W" grade, but will not count in the GPA hours nor in any GPA calculations. The "W" signifies that this policy was invoked and does not reflect the rationale for its use. The reasons for use remains the student's purview.
- There are no refunds of tuition and fees as a result of application of the policy. However, utilization of this grade option policy may affect Reasonable Academic Policy requirements for continued receipt of federal financial aid. Students are urged to consult with their financial aid advisor.
- A student decision to invoke this policy is irrevocable and unappealable.
- Application of the W grade option may not be employed to reduce or obviate any penalty otherwise accruing to students under the University Honor System. Previously processed W grade options will be voided if the course is penalized per an Honor System action.
- Students may request a W grade option change for any course, irrespective of the evaluation earned in it up to the point of their request for withdrawal. However, if a registration hold exists at the time of application of this policy, the student must take action to remove the hold within five (5) working days of the application or the request will be voided. Students are responsible for resolving their registration holds with the appropriate university office.
- Students already enrolled when this policy takes effect who have exercised their option to use the previously existing Freshman Rule shall not be eligible to use this policy.
To exercise this option, interested students should see their academic advisor to obtain a course withdrawal form and submit it to their designated departmental representative and academic dean for approval.