This page summarize information about Allegheny’s credit and grading systems.
The Semester Calendar
Allegheny divides the academic year into two semesters of 15 weeks each. During semesters, classes typically meet two or three times per week for periods of 75 or 50 minutes. Most courses receive four semester credit hours, and the usual academic load is 16 semester hours in each semester and 32 semester hours for the year. Students may take up to 20 semester hours per semester without special permission. The minimum course load to be considered a full-time student is 12 semester credit hours per semester.
Student grades are reported on either a letter-grade basis or Credit/No Credit basis.
Possible grades are:
- A (excellent); 4.00 quality points
- A – ; 3.70 quality points
- B + ; 3.30 quality points
- B (good); 3.00 quality points
- B – ; 2.70 quality points
- C + ; 2.30 quality points
- C (fair) ; 2.00 quality points
- C – ; 1.70 quality points
- D + ; 1.30 quality points
- D (passing); 1.00 quality points
- F (failure); 0.00 quality points
- CR (credit – see “Credit/No Credit” below)
- NC (no credit – see “Credit/No Credit” below)
- W (withdrawal): may be assigned by faculty under extraordinary extenuating circumstances (see “Withdrawing from a Course” below). Grades of “W” appear on the transcript but have no effect on the student’s grade point average.
- X (student-initiated withdrawal). Students may elect to withdraw from one class during the semester (four classes total at Allegheny) up to the ninth week of the semester. Grades of “X” appear on the transcript but have no effect on the student’s grade point average.
- IN (incomplete): may be assigned by faculty when they believe that extenuating circumstances preclude completion of the work on time by the student. Incompletes are awarded with the expectation that the work will be completed by the student in a timely fashion. (See Grades of Incomplete, below.)
Students may take up to four credit hours per semester on the Credit/No Credit basis, but may not present for graduation more than 16 credit hours of their coursework on this basis. To take a course Credit/No Credit, students must submit a completed CR/NC card to the Registrar’ s Office by the end of the second week of classes. (A few courses are required to be taken on the Credit/NoCredit basis, and some others must be taken on a letter-grade basis.) Students who receive grades of “Credit” (CR) receive credit for the appropriate number of semester credit hours. Students who receive grades of “No Credit” (NC) receive no academic credit for the course. A grade of CR is awarded for course performance equivalent to, or higher than, a passing letter grade (D). A grade of NC is awarded for course performance equivalent to a failing letter grade (F). In either case, the grade has no effect on the student’s grade point average.
Faculty stipulate grades of Incomplete (“IN”) when they believe that extenuating circumstances preclude completion of the work on time by the student. The student is responsible for providing evidence for the extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the faculty member, who has sole authority to grant the Incomplete. Incompletes are awarded with the expectation that the work will be completed by the student in a timely fashion. Examples of circumstances in which the Incomplete is appropriate include, but are not limited to, serious illnesses or injuries that preclude a student from finishing work for a course; cases where the course grade depends on the outcome of an honor code hearing; or death of an immediate family member. An Incomplete should not be assigned when a student simply fails to turn in a final exam or project, nor when there is little likelihood that the student will be able to make up a large quantity of incomplete work (due, for example, to prolonged illness); in the latter case a Withdrawal (see below) may be more appropriate.
After appropriate consultation with the student, the instructor will determine the date by which incomplete work must be completed. In all cases, the work must be completed no later than 30 days after the first day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the student is next registered. Students who have an “IN” but do not register in a subsequent semester or summer session must complete the work within 12 months. Extensions to these deadlines may only be granted by the Provost or designee.
When the instructor submits the completed grade to the Registrar, this completed grade is posted to the transcript and calculated into the grade point average for the semester in which the student was registered for the course.
Withdrawing From a Course
A student who wishes to withdraw from all courses during a semester should take a Leave of Absence or withdraw completely from the College. A single course may be dropped during the first two weeks as described above. Once the drop deadline has passed, withdrawals are noted on the transcript as described below.
Students may withdraw from a 14-week course without grade penalty through the first day of the tenth week of the semester. Students may withdraw from a 7-week course through the first four weeks of the course. Such a withdrawal will be denoted on the official transcript with a grade of “X,” but the course will not be included in the calculation of the student’s GPA. A student contemplating a student-initiated withdrawal must consult with an academic advisor and course instructor. The advisor and instructor must complete the Student-Initiated Withdrawal form to verify that students have discussed their plans to withdraw from the course. The Student-Initiated Withdrawal form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the deadline published in the on-line Academic Calendar. Students may take a student-initiated withdrawal for at most one course in a single semester and at most four courses during their studies at Allegheny.
If, as a result of extraordinary extenuating circumstances, a student wishes to withdraw from a course after the appropriate course registration change period has expired (see “Adding and Dropping Courses” above), the student may ask the instructor to grant a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances (“W”). Such a Withdrawal can only be granted to a student whose performance has been significantly affected by unexpected circumstances beyond the student’s control. For example, a Withdrawal for Extenuating Circumstances may be granted in the event of a prolonged serious illness, or if there is a serious and incapacitating change in a student’s family situation. A Withdrawal cannot be granted simply for poor academic performance or failure to attend class, nor will it be granted when a Student-Initiated Withdrawal (“X”) is appropriate. The student is responsible for providing evidence of extraordinary extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the faculty member, who has sole authority to grant the Withdrawal. When such a request is granted, the student’s transcript will show a grade of “W.” This grade will not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average.
Assessing student work and assigning grades is a primary faculty responsibility. Faculty have the right to substantial autonomy in assigning grades, within the policies they set for their classes and applicable College policies. The utmost care should be taken to ensure that grading is accurate, fair, and based on grading criteria (see Section 220.127.116.11 for recommendations on grading criteria in syllabi).
On rare occasions, errors in grading are discovered by faculty or students after grades are posted. On even rarer occasions, students may have concerns about grading that do not fall within the parameters of the faculty-initiated grade change policy (Section 1 below). The policy outlined below governs the circumstances under which grade change requests may be made and the procedures for doing so.
Students should be advised that filing a formal grade change request, that is, beyond the level of the instructor, is serious, and should be avoided until all informal methods of resolution have been used.
The decision of the Provost to change or not change a grade in the circumstances outlined below is final, and will either be made upon recommendation of the faculty involved, or if there is clear evidence that the standards listed above of accuracy, fairness, and application of grading criteria have not been met.
I. Grade Change Originated by Faculty
Faculty may request that a previously recorded course grade be changed only: (a) in the case of a demonstrable mathematical error in the compilation or recording of a grade; (b) where it is brought to the attention of the faculty member that they inadvertently misapplied College policy in a way that affected grading; or (c) in the case where documented, extraordinary, extenuating circumstances are brought to the instructor after the deadline for grade submission. Such circumstances brought to the instructor prior to the deadline for grade submission should be evaluated according to the policies for “Grades of Incomplete” or “Withdrawals for Extenuating Circumstances.” All faculty requests for grade changes must be approved by the Provost and Dean of the College, whose decision in the matter is final. Within fourteen days of receiving the faculty request to change a grade, the Provost shall determine the outcome of the case, and communicate that to the student and instructor.
II. Grade Change Originated by Student
A student with questions about their evaluation in a course is expected to first consult with the faculty member instructing the course. Many such questions can be resolved via a conversation between student and instructor.
If further consultation is necessary, the student should write a formal appeal to the chair of the academic department or program in which the course is offered. In their appeal, students should include the nature of their concern, supporting evidence when available, the result of the previous conversation with the course instructor, and the resolution requested. If the faculty member instructing the course is also the chair of the academic department or program, then the student should direct their appeal to the Provost and Dean of the College.
The chair of the academic department or program should review the student appeal, consulting further with the student and instructor(s) as necessary. Within fourteen days of receiving the student appeal, the chair should make a written recommendation to the Provost about the matter. Within fourteen days of receiving the chair’s recommendation, the Provost shall determine the outcome of the case, and communicate that to the student, instructor, and chair.
The decision of the Provost is final and no further appeal is possible.
III. Timing of Grade Changes
All requests for review must be initiated within sixty days of the date that the final grade was posted to a student’s record. So long as the request is initiated within sixty days, the review and final decision may exceed that timeframe. However, grades cannot be changed after a student’s degree has been posted and they have graduated.
IV. Conflicts of Interest
In cases where a conflict of interest exists on the part of the chair of an academic department or the Provost, they must recuse themselves from the process. The chair would be replaced by a faculty member in their department, ideally a former chair, and the Provost would be replaced by the Associate Provost or an academic dean.
This policy is under the purview of the Academic Awards and Standards Committee. Changes are subject to a vote of the faculty.
With the exception of the First-Year/Sophomore Seminars, students may repeat courses at Allegheny, provided the courses are offered again. Courses designated “may be repeated for credit” may be taken any number of times, and a student will receive the appropriate credit and grade each time. Examples of courses that may be repeated for credit are music ensembles and special topics courses that cover different material with each course offering.
In all other cases, whenever a student repeats a course, the academic record and transcript will reflect all course enrollments and the grade earned for each enrollment. From the time of completion of a repeated course forward, however, only the credit and grade for the most recent attempt will be counted in computing grade point averages, unless a student withdraws from a repeated course – in this case, the academic record and transcript will include the withdrawal, and the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. Students may repeat a course initially taken on the graded basis for Credit/No Credit; however, Credit (“CR”) must be earned or the grade previously awarded will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages. In the event a student receives a grade of Incomplete (“IN”) for a repeated course, the grade previously earned will continue to be counted in computing grade point averages until such time as the student completes the coursework and a final grade has been submitted.