Jun 12, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Grading Policies

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Grading System

Every student of the university will have all coursework evaluated and reported by the faculty using letter grades or administrative symbols.

The university uses a combination of traditional and nontraditional grading options as follows:

Traditional (Letter Grade Option) - Plus/minus may be assigned to letter grade.

Letter grades, for undergraduate students, defined as:

A outstanding performance
B above average performance
C average performance
D below average performance, though passing
F failure

For graduate students*:

A outstanding performance
B average performance
C below performance
D failure
F failure

* Each course on the Graduate Study Plan must be completed with a grade of “C” (2.0) or better. Some programs may have higher standards.

Nontraditional (Credit/No Credit Option)

CR (Credit) for satisfactory (equivalent to C (2.0) or better in undergraduate courses; B (3.0) or better in graduate courses) and NC (No Credit) for less than satisfactory work.

When, because of circumstances, a student does not complete a particular course, or withdraws, certain administrative symbols may be assigned by the faculty. Grades and symbols are listed in a chart on the following page together with grade-point values. The chart also illustrates the academic bookkeeping involved for all grades and symbols used.

Selection of Grading Option

Selection of a grading option, with certain exceptions, is the responsibility of the student. Graduate students, however, must use the letter grade option for courses that are on study plans leading to master’s degrees, though a few courses have been designated CR/NC only. See below. Undergraduates must use the letter grade option for major, minor and general education requirements.

Exceptions are those courses designated by the faculty to be graded solely on either a letter grade only or Credit/No Credit basis.

These courses will be so designated in the online class schedule (and shall not be changed by the faculty after publication of the online class schedule) for each semester and may be included in major, core or special program requirements.

Undergraduate students shall inform the Office of Registration and Records up to the end of the second week of classes regarding the selection of grading options in designated courses. If a student does not do so, the letter grade option will be used. Students are not permitted to change grading options after the university mini-census date except, by petition, changes from Credit/No Credit to letter grade, which will bring the student into compliance with major, minor and general education requirements.

The faculty shall grade all students using the traditional A, B, C, D or F grades except in Credit/No Credit (only) courses, and the Office of Registration and Records shall make the necessary changes from A, B, C, D or F, converting C (2.0) or better to Credit, and C- or below to No Credit in undergraduate courses and B (3.0) or better to Credit, and B- or below to No Credit in graduate courses. In those courses offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis, the instructor shall assign grades of CR or NC or appropriate administrative symbols.

Nontraditional Grade Option

A nontraditional grading option is available to undergraduate students, non-objective graduate students and to classified graduate students for courses not included in the approved study plan. Any student attempting a course using the nontraditional grading option must meet the prerequisites for that course. Each student shall be permitted to select courses in subjects outside of the major, minor and general education requirements for enrollment on a Credit/No Credit basis. The phrase “major requirements” shall be taken to include core plus concentration (or option) requirements in departments using such terms, and professional course requirements in teacher education curricula.

An undergraduate student in any one term may take one course under the Credit/No Credit option. In addition, he or she may enroll in a required course offered only under Credit/No Credit; however, a maximum of 36 units of Credit/No Credit courses, including those transferred from other institutions, may be counted toward the baccalaureate.

On the graduate level, the departments may identify a limited number of CR/NC graded courses (clinical practica, internships, applied skills, fieldwork, or performance or similar courses) to be used on the graduate study plan.

Under the Credit/No Credit option, the term “Credit” signifies that the student’s academic performance was such that he or she was awarded full credit in undergraduate courses with a quality level of achievement equivalent to a C (2.0) grade or better, unless the catalog course description states otherwise.

In all graduate-level and professional education courses, Credit signifies academic performance equivalent to B (3.0) or better grades. No Credit signifies that the student attempted the course but that the performance did not warrant credit toward the objective.

Ordinarily, an undergraduate student shall be limited to one non-major course per term using this option, exclusive of courses offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis.

When an undergraduate student changes his or her major field of study to one where he or she has completed courses with CR grades, such lower-division courses shall be included in major requirements. Upper-division courses may be included at the option of the department upon petition by the student.

Grade or Symbol   GPA Units Units Earned Point Value
Traditional (letter grades and their corresponding values)
A+   Yes Yes 4.0
A Outstanding Yes Yes 4.0
A-   Yes Yes 3.7
B+   Yes Yes 3.3
B Good Yes Yes 3.0
B-   Yes Yes 2.7
C+   Yes Yes 2.3
C Acceptable Yes Yes 2.0
C-   Yes Yes 1.7
D+   Yes Yes 1.3
D Poor Yes Yes 1.0
D-   Yes Yes 0.7
F Failing Yes No 0.0
CR   * Yes None
NC   * No None
Administrative Symbols
I (Incomplete Authorized) No  
IC (Incomplete Charged) Yes No 0
U (Unauthorized Incomplete) ††† Yes No 0
W (Withdrawal) No No None
WF (Withdrawal) †† Yes No 0
WU (Withdrawal Unauthorized) Yes No 0
AU (Audit) No No None
SP (Satisfactory Progress) ††† No No None
RD (Report Delayed) No No None
RP (Report in Progress) No No None
  Totals Used in GPA Counted in Objective Used Toward GPA

* Credit/No Credit course units are not included in GPA computations.

† If not completed within one year, I will be changed to an IC (or NC).

†† Effective fall 1991, this symbol is no longer assigned.

††† Effective fall 2002, this symbol is no longer assigned.

ADVISORY CAUTION: Undergraduate students who plan to pursue graduate or professional studies later are advised to be selective in opting for courses on a Credit/No Credit basis. As a general rule (advisory only), coursework that is preparatory or prerequisite to advanced specialized study should be completed and evaluated on a letter grade basis and not Credit/No Credit.

In case of an emergency, such as a pandemic or other major difficulties, the faculty and university may choose to allow students to change to the CR/NC grading option after the normal grading selection has passed.

Administrative Symbols

Incomplete Authorized (I)

The symbol “I” (Incomplete Authorized) indicates that a portion of required coursework has not been completed and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. It is the responsibility of the student to bring pertinent information to the attention of the instructor and to determine from the instructor the remaining course requirements which must be satisfied to remove the Incomplete. A final grade is assigned when the work agreed upon has been completed and evaluated.

An “I” must normally be made up within one calendar year immediately following the end of the term during which it was assigned.

This limitation prevails whether or not the student maintains continuous enrollment. Failure to complete the assigned work will result in an “I” being converted to an “IC” (or “NC”) symbol, unless the faculty member assigns a specific letter grade, which would replace the “I” in the student’s record prior to the calendar year conversion deadline.

A grade of Incomplete may be given only when, in the opinion of the instructor, a student cannot complete a course during the semester of enrollment for reasons beyond the student’s control.

Such reasons are assumed to include: illness of the student or of members of the student’s immediate family, extraordinary financial problems, loss of outside position and other exigencies. In assigning a grade of “I,” the instructor shall file with the department for future reference and student access a Statement of Requirements for Completion of Coursework. The requirements shall not include retaking the course. The instructor will also designate a time limit (up to one year) for completing requirements.

Upon request, a copy of the document will be furnished to the student. The student should review this statement at the earliest opportunity.

The statement of requirements will include an indication of the quality of the student’s work to date. This not only provides an interim evaluation for the student but assists the department chair in assigning a final grade in those instances where the instructor is no longer available.

When the specific requirements are completed, the instructor will report a change of grade. The responsibility for changing the incomplete grade rests with the instructor.

Incomplete Charged (IC)

The “IC” symbol may be used when a student who received an authorized incomplete (“I”) has not completed the required coursework within the allowed time limit. The “IC” replaces the “I” and is counted as a failing grade for grade-point average and grade-point computation.

Withdrawal (W)

The symbol “W” indicates that the student was permitted to withdraw from the course after the deadline to drop the course (approximately the end of the second week for full semester, regular session classes) with the approval of the instructor and appropriate campus officials. It carries no connotation of quality of student performance and is not used in calculating grade-point average or progress points. Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester units. The limit applies only to units attempted at the campus.

Students may withdraw from most classes during the first two weeks of instruction without record of enrollment. After that time, students should complete all courses in which they are enrolled.

The university authorizes withdrawal after the first two weeks of instruction and prior to the last three weeks of instruction only with the approval of the instructor and the department chair (and, in some cases, the college associate dean). All requests for permission to withdraw during this period and all approvals shall be made in writing on the Withdrawal Request form, which shall be filed at the Office of Registration and Records by students or their proxies.

Authorization to withdraw after the second week of instruction shall be granted for only the most serious reasons, i.e., a physical, medical, emotional or other condition that has the effect of limiting the student’s full participation in the class. Such reasons must be documented by the student. Poor academic performance is not evidence of a serious reason for withdrawal. Signatures of the instructor and department chair are required for each course. In some departments, the signature of the associate dean is also required. Withdrawal from a class is signified by a grade of “W.” Such grades are not included in grade-point average calculations.

Students may not withdraw during the final three weeks of instruction except in cases, appropriately documented, such as accident or serious illness, where the assignment of an Incomplete is not practicable. Ordinarily, withdrawals of this nature will involve withdrawal from all classes except that Credit or Incomplete Authorized (“I”) may be assigned for courses in which students have completed sufficient work to permit an evaluation to be made. Requests for permission to withdraw from all classes under these circumstances, with authorizations as described above, shall be submitted with Change of Program forms by the students (or their proxies) to the Office of Registration and Records.

Courses that are not scheduled as full semester, regular session courses may have unique drop and withdrawal deadlines. Students taking these courses are responsible for adhering to the unique deadlines. A student enrolled in a class can verify the related withdrawal deadlines in his/her TItan Online Student Center by selecting the “Deadlines” icon immediately preceding the class listed under “This Week’s Schedule.”

Withdrawal Unauthorized (WU)

The symbol “WU” indicates that an enrolled student did not withdraw from the course but failed to complete course requirements. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible. For purposes of grade-point average computations, this symbol is equivalent to an F.

Students may petition for retroactive withdrawal from individual courses or from an entire semester, provided they can document both the serious and compelling reasons or circumstances that required the withdrawal and the date of such withdrawal. Such a petition must be filed within 30 days after the first class day of the following semester.

ADVISORY NOTE: Students who unofficially withdraw and who are receiving financial aid or benefits which are dependent on completion of specified course units are advised that they may have such benefits suspended and may be subject to repayment of allowances received after date of unofficial withdrawal.

Audit (AU)

The symbol “AU” is used by the Office of Registration and Records in those instances where a student has enrolled in a course either for information or other purposes not related to the student’s formal academic objective. Enrollment as an auditor is subject to the permission of the instructor, provided that enrollment in a course as an auditor shall be permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll on a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Auditors are subject to the same fee structure as credit students, and regular class attendance is expected. Once enrolled as an auditor, a student may not change to credit status unless such a change is requested no later than the last day to add classes in that term. A student who is enrolled for credit may not change to audit after the second week of instruction. An auditor is not permitted to take examinations in the course; therefore, there is no basis for evaluation nor a formal grade report.

Report in Progress (RP)

The “RP” symbol is used in connection with courses that extend beyond one academic term. It indicates that work is in progress but that assignment of a final grade must await completion of additional work. Cumulative enrollment in units attempted may not exceed the total number applicable to the student’s educational objective. Work is to be completed within one year except for graduate degree theses or projects for which the time may be longer, but may not exceed the overall limit for completion of all master’s degree requirements.

Report Delayed (RD)

The “RD” symbol is used where a delay in the reporting of a final grade is due to circumstances beyond the control of the student. The symbol is assigned by the Office of Registration and Records and will be replaced as soon as possible. An “RD” shall not be included in calculation of a grade-point average.

Student Records

Grade Reports to Students

A report of the final grades assigned in classes is available to each student at the end of each semester. Many students leave self-addressed postcards for instructors of specific courses to send them earlier reports. Grades are available at the end of each term through the Titan Online feature of the Cal State Fullerton website.


Final examinations, if required by the instructor, will be given at times scheduled by the university. Once established, the final examination schedule may not be changed unless approved by the dean of the college. No makeup final examination will be given except for reason of illness or other verified emergencies.

Credit by Examination (Challenge Examinations)

Students may be granted credit toward the baccalaureate and to meet curriculum requirements in certain designated courses by the satisfactory completion of challenge examinations in the courses. The examinations are to be comprehensive and administered by the sponsoring departments. Well in advance of the semester in which a challenge examination is to be administered, the student, using the appropriate university form, will secure written approval of his or her major adviser and the chair of the department in which the course is offered. In general, prior work or academic experience will be required.

Courses to be offered as challenge examinations will be determined by the academic departments. Matriculated students may either enroll in these courses during registration or add them during the first three weeks of the semester. The examination must be administered not later than the end of the second week of instruction.

Upon successful completion of the examination, the instructor will report the grade of “CR.” Students who fail the challenge examination may elect to continue the course for credit or may officially withdraw from the course through the normal class withdrawal procedure. The challenge examination for any course may be administered only once.

A maximum of 30 credits can be earned by challenge examination, including those earned by advanced placement. Credit by examination may not be used to fulfill the minimum residence requirements.

Grade-Point Averages

The numerical grade-point values in the grading system chart are intended to give an exact determination of a student’s scholastic standing. To compute the grade-point average for coursework at Cal State Fullerton, the grade-point value of each grade, with the exception noted in the “Repetition of Courses” section, is multiplied first by the unit value of each course to obtain a total of all grade points earned. The total is then divided by the total units attempted in all courses in which grades of A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, IC and WU were received. The resulting figure is the grade-point average.

Repetition of Courses

Undergraduate students may repeat courses at Cal State Fullerton for which C- (1.7) or lower grades were earned either at Cal State Fullerton or at other institutions; in repeating such courses, the traditional grading system shall be used. In computing the grade-point average of a student who repeats courses in which he or she received C- (1.7) or lower grades, only the most recently earned grades and grade points shall be used for the first 16 units repeated (e.g., “grade forgiveness”). Nevertheless, the original grade on the academic record shall not be changed or eradicated. Persons who plan to seek professional school admission (e.g., law, medicine) should note that all grades may be calculated for admission regardless of local application of the CSUF repetition of course policy. Undergraduate students may repeat an individual course for grade forgiveness no more than two times.

In exercising this option, an undergraduate student must repeat the course at Cal State Fullerton and may request application of this policy when a course has been repeated. This should be accomplished using the appropriate form, immediately following the term in which the course has been completed, so that the student’s grade-point average can be revised.

This policy may also be applied to courses in which “WU,” “U” or “WF” grades were assigned, as a means of eliminating such marks from grade-point average computations.

In the case of any repetition beyond the 16-unit limit or in courses for which a C or better grade was awarded, both grades are considered in computing grade-point averages. Successful repetition of a course originally passed carries no additional unit credit toward a degree or credential except for certain courses such as independent study, practicum or other courses specified in this catalog as “may be repeated for credit.” Campuses may permit undergraduate students to repeat an additional 12 semester units (18 quarter units), i.e., units in addition to the 16 semester units (24 quarter units) for which grade “replacement” (e.g., “forgiveness”) is permitted. In such instances the repeat grade shall not replace the original grade; instead, both grades shall be calculated in the student’s overall grade-point average.

Students transferring from other colleges where courses were taken and repeated may be eligible for consideration under this policy. In general, the policy of the college where the course was repeated shall be followed.

Subject to the following restrictions, if a graduate or post-baccalaureate student (excluding students with a second bachelor’s degree objective) repeats courses for which a grade of “WU” (withdrawal unauthorized) was received, only the most recently earned grade(s) and grade points shall be used in computing the grade-point average; however, the original “WU” grade(s) will remain on the permanent record. This policy may be applied only to grades earned during the first semester in which “WU” grades are received. Repeated courses must be taken at Cal State Fullerton using the traditional grading system. Students who have successfully repeated “WU”-graded courses must notify the Office of Registration and Records using the appropriate form if they wish adjustment to their grade-point averages.

Grade Changes

The university recognizes the long-standing prerogatives of faculty to set standards of performance and to apply them to individual students. The university will seek to correct injustices to students but at the same time believes that the instructor’s judgment at the time the original grade is assigned is better than a later reconsideration of an individual case. Equity to all students is of fundamental concern. The following policies apply to changes of grades except for changes of Incomplete Authorized and Withdrawal Unauthorized symbols.

  • In general, all course grades are final when filed by the instructor in the end-of-term course grade report. Each student may view the grades he/she earned during the term via Titan Online, and these grades become a part of the official record.
  • A change of grade may occur only in cases of clerical error, administrative error, or where the instructor reevaluates the original course assignments of a student and discovers an error in the original evaluation. A clerical error is an error made by the instructor or an assistant in calculating or recording the grade. A change of grade shall not occur as a consequence of the acceptance of additional work or reexamination beyond the specified course requirements.
  • A request for a change of grade shall be initiated by the student affected and shall be directed to the instructor within 60 calendar days of the first day of classes of the regular semester following the award of the original grade. If the instructor determines that there is a valid basis for the change, a Change of Grade form shall be used to notify the Office of Registration and Records. These forms are available in department offices and are not to be handled by students. If the instructor determines that there is not a valid basis for the change and denies the student’s request, the instructor’s decision is final. The student may file a petition with the Academic Appeals Board on the basis of unfair or prejudicial treatment by the instructor. (See “Academic Appeals ” in the “Student Affairs ” section of this catalog.)
  • The Change of Grade form completed and signed by the instructor, noting the basis for the change, shall not be accepted by the Office of Registration and Records unless approved separately by the department chair and college dean.
  • If a request for change of grade is initiated after 60 calendar days into the following semester, it will be approved only in extraordinary circumstances. An explanation of such circumstances must accompany the request and must be approved separately by the instructor, department chair and the dean before acceptance by the Office of Registration and Records.
  • In extraordinary circumstances, the Registrar’s Office may refer requests for grade changes to the appropriate administrator in the Office of Academic Programs.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty includes such things as cheating, inventing false information or citations, plagiarism, and helping someone else commit an act of academic dishonesty. It usually involves an attempt by a student to show possession of a level of knowledge or skill which he or she does not possess.

Cheating is defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for work by the use of any dishonest, deceptive, fraudulent or unauthorized means. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to: using notes or aids or the help of other students on tests and examinations in ways other than those expressly permitted by the instructor, plagiarism as defined below, tampering with the grading procedures, and collaborating with others on any assignment where such collaboration is expressly forbidden by an instructor.

Plagiarism is defined as the act of taking the specific substance of another and offering it as one’s own without giving credit to the source. When sources are used, acknowledgment of the original author or source must be made following standard scholarly practice.

The initial responsibility for detecting and dealing with academic dishonesty lies with the instructor concerned. An instructor who believes that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred is obligated to discuss the matter with the student involved. The instructor should possess reasonable evidence, such as documents or personal observation. However, if circumstances prevent consultation with the student, the instructor may take whatever action, subject to student appeal, the instructor deems appropriate.

An instructor who is convinced by the evidence that a student is guilty of academic dishonesty shall:

  • Assign an appropriate academic penalty. This may range from an oral reprimand to an F in the course. To the extent that the faculty member considers the academic dishonesty to manifest the student’s lack of scholarship and to reflect on the student’s academic performance and academic integrity in a course, the student’s grade should be adversely affected. Suggested guidelines for appropriate actions are an oral reprimand in cases where there is reasonable doubt that the student knew that his or her action constituted academic dishonesty; an F on the particular paper, project or examination where the act of dishonesty was unpremeditated, or where there were significant mitigating circumstances, or an F in the course where the dishonesty was premeditated or planned.
  • Report to the student involved, to the department chair and to the vice president for student affairs the alleged incident of academic dishonesty, including relevant documentation, and make recommendations for action that he or she deems appropriate.

The vice president for student affairs shall maintain an academic dishonesty file of all cases of academic dishonesty with the appropriate documentation. Students shall be informed when their names are inserted into the file and provided with copies of any appeals or disciplinary procedures in which they may become involved. The vice president for student affairs or his or her designees may initiate disciplinary proceedings under Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 41301, and Chancellor’s Executive Order 970; when two or more incidents involving the same student occur, he or she shall do so. Opportunities for appeal regarding sanctions resulting from disciplinary proceedings are provided by Executive Order 970.

A student may appeal any action taken on a charge of academic dishonesty under the University Policy Statement 300.030, “Academic Appeals.” See “Academic Appeals ” in the “Student Affairs ” section of this catalog.

Academic Renewal

In 1974, the Board of Trustees of the California State University adopted an academic renewal policy that initially became part of Executive Order No. 213 issued by the Chancellor’s Office. The Board of Trustees made it clear at the time Executive Order 213 was approved that the purpose of this policy was not to raise grade-point averages, but to ensure that able students were not required to stay on after completion of all course requirements simply to remove a deficiency. Executive Order 213 has been superseded by Executive 1037, however, the purpose of the academic renewal policy remains the same.

The university may disregard up to two semesters or three quarters of previous undergraduate coursework taken at any college or university from all considerations associated with requirements for the baccalaureate when a student meets the mandatory condition that “there is every evidence that the student would find it necessary to complete additional units and enroll for one or more additional terms in order to qualify for the baccalaureate if the request were not approved.”

Final determination that one or more terms shall be disregarded in the determination of eligibility for graduation shall be based upon a careful review of evidence by the Review Committee for Academic Renewal and shall be made only when the mandatory condition stated above is met and when:

  1. five years have elapsed since the most recent work to be disregarded was completed; and
  2. the student has requested the action formally and has presented evidence that work completed in the terms under consideration is substandard and not representative of present scholastic ability and level of performance; and
  3. the level of performance represented by the terms under consideration was due to extenuating circumstances; and
  4. the student has completed at Cal State Fullerton, since the most recent work to be disregarded was completed, 15 semester units with at least a 3.0 grade-point average, or 30 semester units with at least a 2.5 GPA, or 45 semester units with at least a 2.0 GPA. Work completed at another institution cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

When such action is taken, the student’s permanent academic record shall be annotated so that it is readily evident to all users of the record that no work taken during the disregarded terms, even if satisfactory, may apply toward the meeting of baccalaureate requirements. All work must remain legible on the record, ensuring a true and complete academic history.

This policy is not intended to merely allow students a means by which they may improve their overall grade-point averages for graduation with honors, admission to graduate and professional schools or to meet eligibility criteria for other awards, employment or acceptance into military and other programs.


Official transcripts of courses taken at the university are issued only with the written permission of the student concerned. Partial transcripts are not issued. A fee of $4 for each transcript must be received before the transcript can be released.

Normally, transcripts are available within three working days, except at the end of the semester when the student should allow about 10 days after the last day of the semester.

Transcripts from other institutions, which have been presented for admission or evaluation, become a part of the student’s permanent academic file and are not returned or copied for distribution. Students desiring transcripts covering work attempted elsewhere should request them from the institutions concerned.

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