Jul 16, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog 
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Return to: About UC Merced  

Office of the Registrar
Kolligian Library 122
Phone: 209-228-7178
Email: registrar@ucmerced.edu
Web: registrar.ucmerced.edu


The work of all students on the UC Merced campus is reported in terms of the following grades:

A+ (excellent) 4.0

A (excellent) 4.0

A- (excellent) 3.7

B+ (good) 3.3

B (good) 3.0

B- (good) 2.7

C+ (fair) 2.3

C (fair) 2.0

C- (fair) 1.7

D+ (barely passing) 1.3

D (barely passing) 1.0

D- (barely passing) 0.7

F (not passing) 0.0

P (passed at a minimum level of C- or better by an undergraduate student)

S (satisfactory, passed at a minimum level of B or better by a graduate student)

NP (not passed, undergraduate only)

U (unsatisfactory, graduate only)

I (incomplete)

IP (in progress)

NR (no report, when an instructor fails to report a grade for a student)

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Credit Toward Degree Requirements

Undergraduates: A course in which the grade A, B, C, D, or P is received is counted toward undergraduate degree requirements. A course in which the grade F or NP is received is not counted toward degree requirements. Grades of I or IP are not counted until such times as they are replaced by grades A, B, C, D, or P. Course minimum grade requirements may differ depending on the program. Students should check with their academic advisor to confirm.

Graduates: A course in which the grade A, B or S is received is counted toward degree requirements. A course in which the grade C, D, F, or U is received is not counted toward degree requirements. Grades I and IP are not counted until such time as they are replaced by grades A, B or S.

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Grade Points

Grades of A, B, C and D may be modified by a plus (+) or minus (-). Grade points are assigned as follows: A+ = 4.0, A =4.0, A-= 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- =1.7, D+ = 1.3, D = 1.0, D-= 0.7, F = 0.0. The grades P, S, NP, U, I and IP carry no grade points and the units in courses so graded are excluded in determination of the grade point average.

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Grade Point Average

A student’s grade point average is computed on courses undertaken in the University of California, with the exception of courses undertaken in University Extension. Grades A, B, C, D and F are used in determining the grade point average; grades I, IP, P, S, NP and U carry no grade points and are excluded from all grade point computations. Grade point average is calculated by dividing the accumulated number of grade points earned by the accumulated number of units undertaken.

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Change of Grade

All grades except Incomplete and In Progress are considered final when assigned by an instructor at the end of a term. An instructor may request a change of grade when a computational or procedural error has occurred in the original assignment of a grade, but a grade may not be changed as a result of re-evaluation of a student’s work. No final grade may be revised as a result of re-examination or the submission of additional work after the close of the semester.

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Grade Appeal Policy

All grades, except Incomplete, are considered final when assigned by an instructor at the end of the term. For the purposes of the grade appeal, a term refers to fall or spring semesters, or summer session.

An instructor may request a change of grade when a computational or procedural error has occurred in the original assignment of a grade. An instructor may not change a grade as a result of re-examination or the submission of additional work after the close of the term. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination.

A student may initiate a grade appeal only in case of clerical / procedural error or non-academic circumstances (described below). Students are encouraged to review their work with the instructor for an explanation of the grade assigned. A student may appeal a grade specifically on the grounds set forth in this policy, based on potential reporting errors or criteria not directly reflective of academic performance in this course.

Basis for Grade Change

There are two valid bases for changing a grade through an appeal. The first is errors and corrections, wherein the appeal is to correct a mistake either in the computation or the reporting of a grade. The second is where it is established that non-academic criteria were applied to determine a grade which includes (a) discrimination based on ethnicity, political views, religion, age, gender, financial status or national origin, or (b) the application of arbitrary criteria in a manner not reflective of student performance in relation to course requirements.

Point of information: Other grade policies, outside of the grade appeal processes, address “good cause” considerations which may include illness, serious personal problems, an accident, a death in the immediate family, a large and necessary increase in working hours, or other situations deemed to be of equal gravity. Two grading policies may apply to “good cause” circumstances: an “Incomplete” or “Withdraw” grade. These processes are triggered during the term in which the course is taken and are not available subsequent to the grade being filed.

Initial Steps

The following are recommended preliminary steps that should be taken prior to filing a formal appeal to address grade concerns. These steps precede the formal appeal process, described in the next section.

If a clerical or procedural error in the reporting of a grade by the instructor can be documented within the term following when the grade was filed, a student may contact the instructor and/or the by-law unit chair1 (or for graduate students, the graduate group chair) in writing (an email message is sufficient), describing the error. Grade changes to correct clerical and procedural errors may be filed by the instructor (or equivalent proxy) and approved by the Office of the University Registrar. Such grade changes should ensure fairness and equity based on syllabus or other policies, especially for those students whose grades will be unaltered. No final grade (except an Incomplete) may be revised by reexamination or additional coursework.

Concerns about non-academic issues (discrimination or arbitrary treatment) should be discussed with the instructor, if possible. Otherwise, students are encouraged to discuss these matters with the by-law unit chair (or for graduate students, the graduate group chair) and/or program’s Dean2.

Appeal Process

If there are sufficient and appropriate grounds to appeal a grade, based on the above specified criteria and procedures, a student may consider the following process.

Appeal Petition

Whenever possible, students are encouraged to work directly with their instructor to discuss grades, course policies and expectations. If a student wishes to appeal a grade after speaking to the instructor (and for undergraduates, the senate faculty member in charge of the course in the case where the instructor is responsibl for a subset of sections and/or under a mentoring agreement) and the appropriate administrator (see Initial Steps), the grade appeal process commences with a written appeal petition.

An appeal petition includes a written summary (250 total words, see below) and is filed electronically with the program’s Dean (who will communicate with the instructor and other appropriate administrators). The following is an outline of what a formal grade appeal petition should include:

  • Contact Information: Include name, University email address, student identification number, and phone number
  • Course Information: Include course number and title, instructor name
  • Background to appeal: In 100 words, briefly describe attempts to resolve concerns with instructor. If the faculty program lead or Dean was contacted, note these details as well.
  • Brief description of appeal: In 150 words, describe the grounds for the appeal itself. What are the primary criteria and considerations?
  • Appendix: Include all related documentation

Appeal Process

The program’s Dean shall proceed to attempt to resolve the dispute independently. (If the program’s Dean has a conflict of interest, e.g. is the instructor who filed the disputed grade, then in the case of undergraduates, the program’s School Executive Committee Chair will serve as designate on the case; in the case of graduate students, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education will serve as designate. In such a case, all reference to the program’s “Dean” refers to this “designate.”) After review of the appeal petition, the program’s Dean may or may not approve further action.

If an appeal petition alleges discrimination or arbitrary treatment, an initial assessment of the grounds for the case will be considered by the program’s Dean. If it is determined that this is potentially a discrimination case3, the petition will be reviewed as a Title VI and/or Title IX matter by the appropriate officer(s).

Written notification about findings will be shared with the student and instructor within four weeks of receipt of the formal petition. If the student or instructor requests a reconsideration of the appeal decision, they must respond within one week of this notification to the Provost (or designate). If there is no request for reconsideration from the student or instructor, the grade shall be sustained or altered in accordance with the findings.

A final appeal to the Provost may be based only on (1) a violation of due process in the grade appeal process or (2) new and substantial information. This final appeal is limited to a 100 word summary, with related evidence, and must be filed to the Provost’s Office within one week of the findings. The Provost (or the Provost’s designate) will decide if further process is warranted and if so, how this process will be structured. If further process is warranted, additional documentation or interviews supporting the appeal may be requested.

The final decision should occur within the term of the appeal. Decisions may include: 1) no change, 2) removal of course from transcript, or 3) grade correction. In cases where it is determined that nonacademic criteria were significant factors in establishing the grade, students may have the option of either receiving a P or S in the course or retroactively dropping the course without penalty.

If a grade appeal is related to the final term before graduation, submission of an appeal must be made within 30 days after the last day of a student’s final term and considered within 30 days after receipt.


The following timeline should be followed in all grade appeals. Failure to take actions within this timeline will significantly limit and potentially disqualify the grounds for an appeal.

The following timeframe begins in the term following the one in which the grade in question has been filed.

At the beginning of the term, the student will no later than

Weeks 1-3: Initiate communication with instructor and/or program faculty lead, seeking informal resolution of concerns

Weeks 4-5: Develop a formal appeal petition, if concerns are unresolved

By Week 6: Submit this petition and supporting evidence to the program’s Dean for review

The goal of the appeal process is for findings to be shared with the student and instructor as soon as possible. The following are estimated times for reviewing the petition, exploring information, and summarizing findings.

In the process that follows, the program’s Dean will:

Weeks 7-9: Review the formal appeal. Findings and summaries are developed, with the potential for seeking further information or consultation.

Weeks 10-12: If possible, findings are shared. Please note that some cases are complex and require either further consultation or information gathering, with associated time added. The final decision should occur within the term of the appeal.

Findings: When findings are released, the student and instructor have one week to respond via a brief summary (100 words) to the Provost (or Provost designate). This is the final step in the appeal process, and there may be no further petitions or appeals.

Informational Item: Please note that the timeline for appeals concerning the final term before graduation is abbreviated to 30 days.

Final Note

These procedures are designed solely to guide grade appeal processes. No punitive actions may be taken against the instructor solely on the basis of these procedures. Neither the filing of an appeal nor the final disposition of the case shall, under any circumstances, become part of the personnel files of the instructor. The use of nonacademic criteria in assigning a grade, however, is a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct and in some instances Title VI and/or Title IX policies, which may result in potential sanctions.

1A lead faculty contact may be a program director (e.g. the Merritt Writing Program)

2A school dean of a given undergraduate or graduate academic program is the appropriate contact. The Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education is the contact for WRI or CORE 001.

3Discrimination refers to protected groups based on ethnicity, political views, religion, age, gender, financial status or national origin.

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Grade I (Incomplete)

The grade of I may be assigned when the instructor determines that a student’s work is of passing quality and represents a significant portion of the requirements for a final grade, but is incomplete for a good cause (good cause may include current illness, serious personal problems, an accident, a recent death in the immediate family, a large and necessary increase in working hours or other situations of equal gravity). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain written permission from the instructor to receive an I grade as opposed to a non-passing grade. An Incomplete form is available from the Office of the Registrar’s website and must be filed prior to the end of the final examination period. If, however, extenuating circumstances exist where submission of the I grade form is not possible before the end of the final examination period, an instructor may submit an I grade; however, the form, including student and instructor signatures, must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester (which would include the summer sessions). If the form is not received by the Office of the Registrar before the first day of instruction of the next semester, then the I grade will revert to an F, NP, or U.

If an I grade is assigned, students may receive unit credit and grade points by satisfactorily completing the coursework as specified by the instructor. Students should not reenroll in the course; if they do, it is recorded twice on the transcript. Once an I grade is assigned, it remains on the transcript until replaced by another grade notation that students may later receive for that course.

I grades are not counted in computing the grade point average. An I grade received in the fall term must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following fall term. An I grade received in the spring or summer terms must be replaced by the first day of instruction in the following spring term.

Except as noted below, any I grade that has not been replaced within the above deadlines will be converted to grade F (or NP/U if taken passed/not passed). After that time, but not retroactively, the grade is counted in computing a student’s grade-point average.

Exception: If a degree is conferred before the end of the above deadlines following the assignment of an I grade, the grade will not be converted to an F (or NP/U). However, the student still has the option of removing the I grade within the above deadlines.

Undergraduate students with 15 or more units of I on their record may not register without permission of the appropriate Dean.

For graduate students, the maximum amount of time that an instructor may allow for making up incomplete work is two semesters of enrollment, but stricter limits may be applied. The procedure is to process such requests with the approval of the Dean of the School in which the course was offered. If not made up within the time allowed, an I grade will be converted to an F or U.

For graduate students, ordinarily I grades do not affect GPA. However, when computing GPA to determine whether the graduate student meets the minimum GPA requirements for graduation (3.0), I grades are counted as “F.” A graduate student with an I grade may proceed toward a degree only at the discretion of the Dean of the Graduate Division.

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Grade IP (In Progress)

For a course extending over more than one semester where the evaluation of the student’s performance is deferred until the end of the final semester, provisional grades of In Progress (IP) shall be assigned in the intervening terms. The provisional grades shall be replaced by the final grade if the student completes the full sequence. The grade IP is not included in the grade point average. If the full sequence of courses is not completed, the IP will be replaced by a grade of Incomplete. Further changes in the student’s record will be subject to the rules pertaining to I grades.

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Grading Options

Grade Passed/Not Passed (P/NP)

Undergraduate students in good standing who are enrolled in at least 12 units may take certain courses on a Passed/Not Passed (P/NP) basis. Students may enroll in one course each term on a P/NP basis (two courses if they have not elected the P/NP in the preceding term).

Changes to and from the P/NP option must be made during the enrollment period. No changes can be made after the first two weeks of classes without the approval of the appropriate Dean.

The grade P is assigned for a letter grade of C- or better. If the student earns a grade of D+ or below, the grade will be recorded as NP. In both cases, the student’s grade will not be computed into the grade point average. A student may not repeat on a P/NP basis a course that was previously taken on a letter-graded basis.

Credit for courses taken on a P/NP basis is limited to one-third of the total units taken and passed on the UC Merced campus at the time the degree is awarded.

A course that is required or a prerequisite for a student’s major may be taken on a P/NP basis only upon approval of the Faculty. Academic Schools may designate some courses as Passed/Not Passed only. Students do not have the option of taking these courses for a letter grade.

For graduate students, the grade P is not considered as meeting the academic criteria for satisfactory progress, for university-administered fellowships, or for academic appointments/employment. A graduate student may elect P/NP grading for one course only (a maximum of 4 units) per semester. Under no circumstances will courses taken P/NP count toward unit and degree requirements for any graduate degree program.

Grade Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U)

The grade of S is awarded to graduate students for work in graduate courses that otherwise would receive a grade of B or better.

Graduate students, under certain circumstances, may be assigned grades of S or U, but units earned in this way will not be counted in calculating the grade point average. A student cannot self-elect S/U grading. The S/U grading for a course is assigned by the instructor prior to when students register and must be assigned to all participants in a graduate course with the approval of the Graduate Council. Graduate students may petition to take no more than one course per semester on a S/U grading basis. A graduate course I which a C, D or F grade is received may not be repeated with the S/U option.

In specific approved courses, instructors will assign only Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grades. Such courses count toward the maximum number of units graded S allowable toward the degree, as specified by each degree program.

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Mid-Semester Grades

Mid-semester grades provide students in lower division courses with early feedback (both positive and negative) about their academic performance. Mid-semester grades provide an opportunity for students to receive positive reinforcement and motivation if they are doing well, and to identify those who are struggling. Mid-semester grades allow faculty, advisors, and services on campus to intervene with students who are in academic difficulty, while there is still time in the semester. Mid-semester grades for all lower division courses only are reported at the end of the eighth week of the semester, and all grades are submitted as letter grades for letter-graded courses (regardless of whether the student has elected to take the course as P/NP). If a course is P/NP only, all grades will be submitted as P/ NP. Mid-semester grades are notational grades which are used to help ensure the academic success of UC Merced students in lower division courses. These grades are not recorded in any permanent record or on a student’s academic transcript.

All mid-semester grades of D+, D, D- or F on any course requires freshmen-only students to attend a one-hour Academic Success Workshop. Attendance is mandatory and a hold for future semester course registration will be placed for non-participation in the one-hour workshop. Sophomores with a D+, D, D- or F grade are encouraged to attend an Academic Success Workshop, however, they can have the hold for future semester course registration released by meeting with their academic advisor.

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Final Grades

After grades are recorded for a semester or summer session, they are available online via MyStudentRecord (accessible via MyUCMerced). With the availability of online grade reporting, students can print their grade reports from the Internet.

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Dean’s Honor List

Undergraduate students will be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List if they have earned in any one semester a minimum of 12 graded units with a 3.5 grade point average or better with no grade of I or NP. Dean’s Honors are listed on student transcripts. Any student who has been found to violate the academic integrity policies during an academic year will not be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List during that academic year.

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Chancellor’s Honors List

Undergraduate students who are placed on the Dean’s Honor List for both semesters in a single academic year (fall and spring) will be placed on the Chancellor’s Honor List for that academic year.