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Grading Systems

Grading System Options

Generally, courses are taken on the A–F or S/N (satisfactory and nonsatisfactory) grading basis. Students may receive grades or symbols only from the grading system under which they have registered for a course. Some courses can only be taken A–F or S/N; other courses students may choose between A–F and S/N. When both are available, students must declare a choice of system as part of the initial registration for a course. The choice may be changed through the published deadlines of each term. Consult your adviser to help with grading system decisions.

A–F grading system

A–F grades carry grade points that contribute to the grade point average (GPA) for the degree and for the major. The GPA is the ratio of grade points earned divided by the number of credits attempted.

Grade point chart

A 4.000
A- 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.000
B- 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.000
C- 1.667
D+ 1.333
D 1.000

S/N grading system

The S/N system is a self-contained alternative to the A–F system. Instead of taking a course for a grade, you take the course only for credits. The credits do not count towards the GPA. Some courses can only be taken S/N; other courses students may choose between A–F and S/N.

  • Students may take up to 25 percent of total degree credits as S/N.
  • S/N may not be used for courses in the major/minor.
  • An S is equal to a C- or higher.
  • An N is equal to a D or lower and receives no credit.
  • S/Ns are recorded on the transcript.
  • Courses required in teaching licensure programs may not be taken S/N unless only offered S/N.

Points to note when considering enrolling in a course with optional S/N grading

  • S/N is not a good option if there is any chance that you may need the course for a major, a minor, or for graduate school prerequisite.
  • S/N grading can indirectly impact the GPA. For example, by earning an S instead of a strong letter grade, a student forfeits the positive GPA impact.
  • S/N may be a good option to reduce academic pressure, for example, when a particular term’s credit/course load is higher than normal.
  • S/N grading was designed to encourage students to seek greater breadth of education and to experience learning for its own sake.
  • Students considering taking courses S/N should always consult their advisers in advance.

University of Minnesota Grading and Transcripts Policy »

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