Graduate Studies

Grading System

The University uses an A through F grading system.

  • Letter grades with point value:
    • A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A- (3.67)
    • B+ (3.33), B (3.0), B- (2.67)
    • C+ (2.33), C (2.0), C- (1.67)
    • D+ (1.33), D (1.0), D- (0.67)
    • F (0)
  • Grades without point value:
    • W (dropped/withdrew)
    • I (incomplete), IP (in progress), XP (no progress)
    • P (pass/C or better), N (no pass)

Graduate students taking undergraduate classes for deficiencies generally have a grade requirement set by the department. However, if no specific standard has been set, the graduate student is required to meet the same standard an undergraduate would be held to. That is, if the class is taken Pass/No pass, pass is the equivalent of a C or better.

Scholastic Grade Requirements

Credit in graduate-level courses is attained as follows:

  • Within the student’s major department or area, for 800-level courses with 400 or lower counterparts:
    • Minimum grade of B required.
    • Courses graded B- or lower, or pass/no-pass (P/N), cannot be used on a Memorandum of Courses (master's) or Program of Study (doctoral).
  • Otherwise: For 900-level courses, 800-level courses without 400 or lower counterparts, or courses in minor, collateral, or supporting areas of work:
    • Minimum grade of C or P (pass) required.
    • Courses graded C- cannot be used on a Memorandum or Program.
    • The comprehensive exam for the minor may be waived only if all grades in the minor are at least a B or P (pass).

Graduate students who do not maintain satisfactory progress may be placed on probation, terminated from a degree program, and/or denied permission to continue graduate studies in the University.

In Progress vs. Incomplete

IP and XP: For research, thesis, and dissertation hours

  • In Progress (IP) indicates satisfactory work in progress. The student is making progress or effort as determined by the faculty supervisor (research effort, literature review, draft chapters, etc.).
    • The IP stands until successful defense and acceptance of the research project, thesis, or dissertation, when a P or letter grade is submitted.
  • No Progress (XP) indicates lack of adequate progress.
    • Because XP is not used in GPA calculation, no direct academic sanction (such as academic dismissal from the University) will be imposed for earning one or more XP grades. However, graduate programs may use a series of XP grades as a basis for terminating a student from the program. Graduate committees should define these criteria, document them in graduate student handbooks, and discuss the process with their students.

On a transcript IP and XP count toward attempted hours, but for Financial Aid they count differently. Any IP or XP grades remaining at graduation will convert to I, if not graded as P or with a letter grade.

Use of IP and XP instead of I for graduate research, thesis, and dissertation hours is recommended by the UNL Graduate Council as of October 9, 2014. The I grade impacts satisfactory academic progress (SAP) assessments in ways that can result in a student's federal financial aid being suspended, while IP and XP differentiate whether progress is being made, enabling more appropriate assessment and avoiding unnecessary aid suspensions and appeals.

I: For any other courses/hours

The grade of Incomplete (I) should be used only for courses that are not graduate research, thesis, or dissertation hours.

For any I grade in a graduate course, the instructor of the course determines the requirements and deadlines for completing it. It is helpful to have these expectations in writing to prevent miscommunication.

  • A student with a grade of I should not re-register for that course within the time frame for the removal of the I. Re-registration will incur new tuition charges.
  • If the instructor leaves the University prior to the date set for the completion of a course, the chair of the academic department of the course will assume the role of the instructor.

When requirements are satisfied, the instructor replaces the I with a grade indicating completion. Some courses must become graded (not I).

  • All Incomplete courses on the Memorandum of Courses or Program of Study must become graded prior to graduation.
  • Graduate courses not on the Memorandum or Program and not to be used to complete the degree may remain I. The grade of I will be on the transcript but will not affect the GPA.
  • Undergraduate courses receiving an I will lapse into the grade of F after one calendar year.

Grade Appeals

Approved by UNL Graduate Council, March 9, 1993.

Appeal of grades in graduate-level courses shall be made through the graduate student grade appeal procedures for the campus through which the grade was awarded.

  1. Students who believe their evaluation in a course has been prejudiced or capricious must first attempt to resolve the matter with the course instructor.
  2. If unsuccessful, the student may then file a written appeal to the Graduate Chair for consideration by the Graduate Committee responsible for the administration of the course. This appeal must be filed within sixty days of the posting of the grade report by the Office of the University Registrar. If the department does not have a graduate program, the standing grade appeal committee of the department would consider the appeal. A written determination of the appeal shall be presented to the student and instructor.
  3. If the matter is unduly delayed or not resolved, the student may present the original appeal documentation to the UNL Dean for Graduate Studies who shall request a review by a subcommittee of the UNL Graduate Council. A final appeal may be made to the full UNL Graduate Council, if it agrees to hear the case. Since awarding grades in courses occurs at the individual campus level, the decision of the UNL Graduate Council shall be final and is not subject to further appeal beyond the campus.
  4. If the instructor’s grade is overturned, the instructor of record has the right of appeal, in writing, at the same successive levels of review.