HSPH Grading System

HSPH offers ordinal (letter), pass-fail, and audit grading options for degree candidates.

Grading Option
Grade Definition
Grade Point Average
Ordinal A-F Grading Scale Calculated in Final G.P.A.
Pass/Fail P=Pass, F=Fail Not Calculated in G.P.A.
Audit Not Graded Not Calculated in G.P.A.

Please note that “audit” may be selected only by HSPH degree candidates and only with the permission of the instructor. Courses which exclude auditors or courses which must be taken pass/fail are noted as such in the Course Schedule. There is a limit of 5 credits per semester of audited course work while registered as a full- or part-time student fulfilling degree requirements. If a student still has time to degree (graduation date) and is not registered for courses for credit, he/she may register for up to 5 credits of audited courses.Students do not receive credit for audited courses. Starting July 2010, audited courses will appear on transcripts with the grade of AU. This grade will not be calculated in the G.P.A. Starting September 2012, students who do not meet the instructors’ expectations of an auditor will receive the grade of WDA.  This grade will not be calculated in the G.P.A. Summer courses may not be taken for audit. Please see “Cross-Registration” for information on choosing grading options for cross-registered courses.

If the student does not select a grading option, the Registrar’s Office assigns the default grading option of ordinal.


The table below reflects the grades used and their corresponding grade point values.

A = 4.0 (Excellent)
A- = 3.70
B+ = 3.30 (Good)
B = 3.00
B- = 2.70 (Satisfactory)
C+ = 2.30
C = 2.00 (Poor)
C- = 1.70
F = 0.0 (Failing/ordinal)
AU* = Audit
WD* = Withdrawn
P* = Passing
F = Failing (pass/fail)
Inc* = Incomplete
ABS* = Absent from Exam
SIP* = Still in Progress
— = Multi-Term Course (grade assignment in following term)
*Does not calculate in GPA


 

To calculate the semester grade point average:

1) For each course, tally the number of credits by the numerical value of the ordinal grade received.

(Number of credits) X (Numerical value of the ordinal grade) = grade points

 

Example: 2.5 credits X 3.30 for a “B+”= 8.25 grade points
5.0 credits X 2.70 for a “B-”= 13.50 grade points
2.5 credits X 3.00 for a “B”= 7.50 grade points
2.5 credits X 3.30 for a “B+”= 8.25 grade points
2.5 credits X 3.30 for a “B+”= 8.25 grade points

 

2) Then, calculate the semester grade point average by dividing the sum of grade points by the sum of the credits.

2.5 credits 8.25
5.0 credits 13.50
2.5 credits 7.50
2.5 credits 8.25
+2.5 credits +8.25
Totals 15.0 credits 45.75 grade points

 

 

45.75 grade points / 15.0 credits = 3.05 semester cumulative average

 

Grades of Pass, Incomplete, Absent from Exam, or Not Satisfactory are not calculated into the grade point average. Grades received from HLS,  HBS (“I,” “II,” “III,” and “Excellent”) and HMS (“Satisfactory” and “Unsatisfactory”) are not calculated into the grade point average, though they will appear on the transcript and will count towards degree credits. HBS grades count as ordinal credit.

 

Grade of Withdrawal

Students who petition for, and have approval for withdrawing from a course after the period’s add/drop deadline for any course at HSPH will receive a grade of “WD.” The withdrawal will be a part of their permanent academic record. Withdrawn course credits will count towards attempted but not earned credits. Tuition is not refunded for withdrawn courses.

Grade of Absence from Examination
A student who cannot attend a regularly scheduled examination must request permission for an alternate examination from the instructor in advance of the examination. At the discretion of the instructor, and in the case of significant medical or personal reasons, an alternate examination may be permitted. Ordinarily, the instructor will consult with the director for student affairs concerning medical and personal problems. An excuse for absence from an examination and permission for an alternate examination must be recorded on the Absence from Examination Form from the Registrar’s Office. In the case of an unexcused absence, the instructor will give a grade of “F” for this examination. (CEP 2/89)

Grade of Failure
Students failing any course at HSPH will receive a grade of “F.” The failure will be a part of their permanent academic record.

Students who fail a course other than a core course have the opportunity to repeat the course for a new grade. Please note that graduation dates will not be extended in order to repeat courses. A new grade will be given for the repeated course, however, the “F” previously received will remain on the student’s record and will continue to be calculated into the GPA.

Failure of Core Courses
Students who fail one of the core requirements (see HSPH school-wide Core Courses) or any required departmental or program courses, must follow procedures established by the CAD:

1) A student who is in his/her first year of a two-year or longer program and who fails a core or departmental requirement must retake the course in its entirety.

2) A student who is in his/her final or only year of a degree program and who fails a core or departmental requirement may (with the approval of the student’s department chair, as well as the chair of the department in which the course is taught) retake the course in the form of an independent study. The CAD must approve the proposed course of study.

The following procedures apply if the student has failed a core requirement:

a. The student must register for one of the following independent studies, which corresponds to the failed course (BIO 200R, BIO 201R, EPI 200R, or EPI 201R). These independent studies are each 2.5 credits, and will remain on the student’s record.

b. The faculty member who taught the failed core course must supervise the make-up independent study.

c. The make-up independent study must have a final examination.

d. At the successful completion of the make-up independent study, the department chair must certify in writing that the student has met the minimum departmental requirements for the subject matter of the failed course. The make-up independent study does not replace the original failure on the student’s official academic transcript.

The following procedures apply if the student has failed a department requirement:

a. The student is required to take the independent study for the same number of credits as the failed course. The CAD recommends a minimum of 2.5 credits to be awarded upon the successful completion of the independent study.

b. The make-up independent study must have a final examination.

c. At the successful completion of the make-up independent study, the department chair must certify in writing that the student has met the minimum departmental requirements for the subject matter of the failed course. The make-up independent study does not replace the original failure on the student’s official academic transcript.

3) A student who fails two or more core or departmental requirements will not be awarded the degree for which he is a candidate. A student who has extenuating circumstances and who has the approval of his/her chair and of the chair in whose department he/she failed the course may petition for permission to retake each failed course in its entirety. Make-up independent studies will not be allowed.


Failure of Examinations
Students who fail an examination may not retake the exam unless the course is a core course. Examinations for core courses may only be retaken with the permission of the associate dean for student services, the chairperson of the department offering the course, and the instructor of the course. Failing an exam in a course in which that exam is the only means of evaluation results in failure of the course.


Grade of Incomplete
Instructors may grant an extension to students who fail to submit an assignment by a deadline date. The penalty for missing a deadline ordinarily is a lowering of the student’s grade on the assignment by one letter (e.g., from A- to B-); however, the instructor may decide that a lesser or greater penalty is required. Instructors should set policy at the beginning of the course concerning the impact of missed deadlines on students’ grades.

Instructors may recommend that students who have missed several deadlines on course work take an “Incomplete.” Students who do not complete course work will receive a grade on the work completed to date or will receive an “Incomplete” at the discretion of the instructor. Students receiving an incomplete must obtain the Incomplete Contract from the HSPH Registrar’s Office — a written contract between the student and instructor. Both parties negotiate the work to be performed, the completion deadline, and the penalty, if any, to be assigned if the work is not completed. These terms are recorded on the form. The signed form is then submitted to the HSPH Registrar’s Office by the instructor. Forms hand delivered by the student will not be accepted.

Policy on the grade of “Incomplete” is as follows:
The deadline for making up incomplete course work should be no later than one semester after the semester in which the course was taken, and may be earlier, at the discretion of the instructor. If the instructor will not be present when the deadline arrives, a designated surrogate must be appointed by the instructor to receive and evaluate the completed course work. If the completed work is submitted by the deadline date, the instructor (or surrogate) will evaluate it, and the grade given will be added to the incomplete (“I”) on the student’s record, so that the final notation will be “I/letter grade.” If, for example, the grade given is a “B,” the final notation will be “I/B.” If the incomplete work is not made up by the deadline date, a grade of “INC” will be given for the work not completed. If this work accounts for the whole grade, the final grade given will be an “I/INC.” (CEP 1/89)

 

If the HSPH Registrar’s Office does not receive a grade from the faculty member after one semester, the grade of “Inc” becomes permanent on the student’s transcript, and the credits will not count toward the student’s degree program. The I/INC functions as an “F” grade and will factor in the student’s GPA.