Loyola University Chicago


The Grading System

Standards and Regulations Home

Credit Hour Defined

The credit hour, sometimes called the semester hour, is the standard for computing the amount of a student's scholastic work. A credit hour is normally defined as one lecture, recitation, or other class exercise of 50 minutes per week per semester. Two 50 minute periods of laboratory or studio work are frequently equivalent to one credit hour. Three or four 50-minute periods of clinical or fieldwork in some areas are equivalent to one credit hour.

Earned credit hours are those that a student receives by successfully passing a course. Attempted credit hours indicate the amount of work the student attempted without reference to grades received. The hours for any course with a final grade other than "W" (withdrawal) or "AU" (audit) are included in attempted credit hours. Attempted credit hours (with the exception of pass no pass courses) are used in computing a student's scholastic average or standing.

Grades and Credit Points

Letter grades and plus/minus indicators (suffixes) are used by instructors to indicate a student's quality of achievement in a given academic course. The letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F, WF are assigned the following credit points for purposes of grade point average (GPA) calculations: A = 4.0; A- = 3.67; B+ = 3.33; B = 3.00; B- = 2.67; C+ = 2.33; C = 2.00; C- = 1.67; D+ = 1.33; D = 1.00; F = 0; WF = 0.

A student taking an elective course "pass/no pass" must receive a grade of C- or higher in order to earn a passing grade (P) for the course. Credit hours for which the student earns a grade of "P" will count toward graduation, but there is no grade computed in the grade point average. A student who receives a grade of D+ or lower in a course taken on the Pass-No Pass Option (see below) will receive a non-passing grade of "NP." Credit hours for which the student earns a grade of "NP" will not count toward graduation, and the grade will not be computed in the grade point average.

A grade of "W" indicates official withdrawal from a course with permission of the student's dean or the Director of University Advising through the allowed withdrawal period (see academic calendar for dates). The grade "W" is not counted in computation of academic standing as either attempted or earned credit hours, nor calculated in the grade point average. A complete emergency term withdrawal, a grade of “WE” does not count towards attempted credit hours or in GPA (effective Fall 2022). However, both the "W" and "WE" count towards attempted hours when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for continued financial aid eligibility. A grade of "WF" indicates withdrawal from a class without proper authorization at any time and is also assigned for withdrawal after the approval deadline (see academic calendar for dates). A course with "WF" is counted as attempted credit hours in the computation of academic standing and is calculated as "F" (0 credit points) in the grade point average (discontinued Fall 2022).

A grade of "I" indicates the course is still incomplete. "I" grades are assigned by the student's instructor and must be removed within six weeks of the start of the subsequent term; otherwise the incomplete is converted into a "F" grade.

NR: The notation of "NR" is assigned in instances where the student is registered at Loyola but never attended the course in question and never completed any work for the course.

Quality Points Defined

Quality points are determined by multiplying letter grade credit point value by the credit hours of a course. If a student earns the grade of "A" in a 3-credit hour course, he or she has earned a total of 12 quality points for the course (4 credit points for the "A" multiplied by 3 credit hours for the course). A student who earns a "B+" for a three credit-hour course, therefore, earns a total of 9.99 quality points for the course. Courses in which "F" or "WF" is earned are counted in the total attempted credit hours and receive zero quality hours. Courses with a "WE" are not counted towards attempted credit hours or in GPA.

Pass No-Pass Option

The primary objective of the pass no-pass option is to encourage students in good standing to explore and experiment in academic areas outside their major or minor field. Students should be aware that the appearance of "P" and "NP" grades on their transcripts may have an adverse effect on changing their major or minor curriculum, transferring to other schools, and acceptance by graduate or professional schools. The following conditions govern this option:

  1. This option is available to a junior (60+ earned credit hours) or senior student in good standing who has satisfied the course prerequisites (or has the written permission of the course instructor). First year students and sophomores may take certain physical education and military science courses under the pass-fail option with permission of their academic dean or the Director of University Advising.
  2. A maximum of twelve credit hours may be taken under the pass fail option during a student's undergraduate career; the credits will be included in the total number of hours earned toward graduation, but will not enter into the computation of cumulative grade point average. A student may take a maximum of two courses under this option in any academic term. Grades of "P" for advanced placement courses that are accepted as transfer credit are not included in the 12-credit-hour total.
  3. Only electives can be taken under the pass no-pass option. Permission will not be given for core, engaged learning, major or minor course requirements.
  4. The grades of "P" and "NP" will appear on the official record of the student's work taken at Loyola University, and may not be converted to any other grade. In the case of a change in a major or minor, the utilization of a course in which the student has already received a grade of "P" toward the requirements of the new major or minor will be at the discretion of the department concerned.
  5. The pass no-pass option may be selected by a student only during the first two weeks of the semester or the first week of a summer session. Once this option is chosen, a return to the regular grading system can only be accomplished during the first two weeks of the semester or the first week of a summer session.
  6. Credit hours earned under this option will not be included in the minimum of 60 graded Loyola hours that must be completed to be eligible for academic honors at graduation.

Auditing Classes

Students wishing to take a course without receiving credit may audit the course. Applicable tuition will be charged. Though a course that is audited does not count as hours attempted, auditors are required to attend class and will be awarded the mark of "AU" upon completion. "AU" does not affect a student's GPA. Failure to attend class will result in the final mark of "W." Assignments, including examinations and term papers, are not required, but auditors have the right to participate in class discussion. Only students who are registered and rostered as auditors will be granted access to Sakai and other course specific media for which registration is required.  A course may not be converted to audit status after the first two weeks of the semester or the first week of a summer session.