Grading & Credit

Grading Policies

Grades are assigned based on the grading system of the department/program offering the course, rather than by the academic program in which the enrolled student is matriculated. Core courses required for an academic program will be graded according to the normal grading policy for that program.


Overview of Contact and Credit hours:

A contact hour is a measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students.

A semester credit hour is normally granted for satisfactory completion of one 50-minute session (contact hour) of classroom instruction per week for a semester of not less than fifteen weeks. This basic measure may be adjusted proportionately to reflect modified academic calendars and formats of study.

Typically, a three semester credit hour course meets three 50-minute sessions per week for fifteen weeks for a total of 30sessions. This definition applies to all delivery formats.

Three semester credit hour is equal to 30 contact hours, also known as clock hours. A regular course credit consist of 3 semester credit hours, unless otherwise stated in the syllabus or by the department, see below:

1 credit hour = 10 contact hours or clock hours.

2 credit hour = 20 contact hours or clock hours.

3 credit hour = 30 contact hours or clock hours.

4 credit hour = 40 contact hours or clock hours.

Semester credit hours are granted for various types of instruction as follows:

Lecture, discussion or seminar = one contact hour constitutes one credit hour (1:1)

Self-Contained or Self-Directed laboratory = approximately 2 – 3 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (3:1 or 2:1)

Studios = approximately 2 contact hours constitutes one credit hour (2:1)

Private Lessons = 1 contact hour constitutes one credit hour (1:1)

Lab definition:

Laboratory describes a class in which all students are engaged in the application of a scientific, technical, or clinical nature that is related to the affiliated course. The students in the room are following a similar set of instructions. The role is facilitation of students in an exercise-oriented activity for which there are goals and outcomes.

Studio definition:

Studio describes a class in which all students are engaged in creative or artistic activities, which are new and unique and not formulated in a lecture setting. Every student in the room is performing a creative activity to obtain specific outcomes. Because it is not typically lecture-based, this requires more minute-to-minute responsibility for the faculty member to engage individual students towards their goals.

Internships, field work and practicums use the following guidelines during a 15-week semester:

3-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 10 contact hours/week or 150 – 200 hours/semester

6-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 20 contact hours/week or 300 – 400 hours/semester

12-credit hour internship, field work course, or practicum = approximately 40 contact hours/week or 600 – 750 hours/semester


Grades assigned in each undergraduate course are intended to reflect achievement relative to a defined level of competence. Faculty members are expected during the first week of a semester to indicate clearly the requirements in a course and the level of competence to be associated with each of the possible letter grades. Multisection courses are expected to require similar levels of competence in all sections. Department and college curriculum committees shall be responsible for implementing these policies.

Credit is expressed in semester hours. One semester hour usually means pursuit of a subject for one 50-minute period per week for a 15-week semester. A student accumulates grade points based on the grades earned. The symbols, their meaning or level of competence indicated, and their grade point values are as follows.

Range in % Letter Grade Mastery

95-100 A Mater/Expert

90-94 A- Mater/Expert

88-89 B+ Experienced

82-87 B Experienced

80-81 B- Experienced

78-79 C+ Competent

72-77 C Competent

70-71 C- Competent

68-69 D+ Novice

62-67 D Novice

60-61 D- Novice

0-59 F


Letter Grade Meaning

A Outstanding competence 4.00

A- Outstanding competence 3.67

B+ Above satisfactory competence 3.33

B Above satisfactory competence 3.00

B- Above satisfactory competence 2.67

C+ Satisfactory level of competence 2.33

C Satisfactory level of competence 2.00

D Marginally satisfactory competence 1

F Unsatisfactory level of competence 0


I Incomplete

W Passing at the time of course withdrawal or semester withdrawal

S Satisfactory

U Unsatisfactory

O Audit; no grade and no credit

OW Audit; requirements not completed

CR Proficiency credit

A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and S are recorded for credit courses for which the student has been given a passing mark. The grading symbol CR indicates that proficiency credit has been received for the course, and that course is not included in the student’s GPA.

An F or U is recorded when a student fails to earn a passing grade in a course; a student drops a course without official notice; a student drops a course with official permission after deadline but is not doing passing work at the time; or a student is not doing passing work at the time of semester withdrawal.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point system is used to determine academic standing and to award honors. To compute the GPA, the total number of grade points earned is divided by the total number of GPA hours attempted at ALT+U (those for which grades of A, A-, B+, B,B-, C+, C, D, or F are recorded).

It should be noted that minimum GPA requirements are interpreted exactly, without rounding.

S/U Grading

In those courses in which the S/U grading basis is applicable, the use of S and U will apply to all students registered in any class section in which the S/U grading basis is employed. Individual students may not elect S and U grading. Educator licensure requirements are deemed to be met only by obtaining a grade of C or better in courses using traditional A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, F grading or an S in those professional or clinical courses in which S/U grading is used. An S is the equivalent to a C or better and a U is equivalent to a D or lower in educator licensure courses using S/U grading.


A grade of I (incomplete) is assigned at the discretion of the instructor, when illness, death in the immediate family, or other unusual and unforeseeable circumstances not encountered by the other students in the class prevent completion of the course requirements by the end of the semester. Under these circumstances, a grade of I (incomplete) may be assigned when a student is unable to complete the course requirements but only when it is possible that the completion of the remaining work could result in a passing grade.

An I (incomplete) grade received during the fall semester, the spring semester, or the summer session must be cleared no later than 120 calendar days from the end of the term in which the student received the grade. The faculty has the discretion to set a deadline within the 120 days or grant an extension up to a maximum of one year.

All incompletes, whether extended or not, must be cleared within a year of when the grade was assigned. All incompletes must be cleared before a degree will be awarded.

An I (incomplete) must be resolved within the appropriate time limit or it will automatically be changed to an F. The student is responsible for seeing that incompletes are made up before the expiration date.

Before grades are posted, an instructor who assigns a grade of I (incomplete) will provide the chair of the department with a written statement of the remaining work to be completed to remove the incomplete. Upon request, the student may obtain a copy of that statement from either the instructor or the department chair.

Grade Appeals

The university has a formal procedure under which a student can appeal an allegedly capricious grade only. This is not for the review or the judgement of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student’s work. For further information and advice regarding the procedure for appealing an allegedly capricious grade, please contact your academic adviser.

Repeating a Course

The policy outlined here pertains only to courses taken at and repeated at ALT+U. Repeating a course taken at another college or university is governed by the policy on repeated courses in the section on transfer credit. The opportunity to repeat a course under this policy will end with the awarding of a degree. The ALT+U transcript will reflect the GPA as specified in the following policy. However, students should be cautioned that some limited admissions programs recognize all attempts for admission purposes and that when students apply to professional schools and/or graduate schools, all attempts at courses could be considered in that application process. For repeated courses from other institutions, see the section “Repeated Courses in Transfer” below.

A student may repeat any course once in which a grade of D or F was received. Third or subsequent enrollments (repeats) in a course may be allowed only if students first obtain permission from their major college or Academic Advising Center for students with no college affiliation, then subsequently obtain permission from the department offering the course. The highest grade which the student earns will be used in the GPA calculation, but both all grades will always appear on the student’s official transcript. In all cases, the permanent record of a student repeating a course will reflect each enrollment in the course. (A course drop does not count as a repeat.) Credit may be earned only once unless the course description in the catalog states otherwise.

A student may not repeat a course taken at ALT+U in which a grade of C or better was earned, unless the contrary is stated in the catalog description of the course.

Change of Grade

Final grades, once posted in MyALT+U, cannot be changed without a written request and explanation, for the change of grade, from the instructor and approval by the department chair, school director, associate dean, program director, or center director as determined by the academic organization the course is housed under. All grade changes proposed for academically dismissed students must be submitted to the college office.

Freshman Warning, Academic Probation and Dismissal

First-semester freshmen at ALT+U who earn a cumulative GPA of 1.60 to 1.99 for all work completed at ALT+U will be placed on freshman warning. A student who does not earn a minimum cumulative 2.00 GPA by the end of their second term at ALT+U will be placed on academic probation. First-semester freshmen whose GPA falls below 1.60 for all work attempted at ALT+U will be placed on probation and all other undergraduate students failing to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 for all work attempted at ALT+U will also be placed on probation. Students placed on freshman warning or probation are required to schedule an appointment with the dean (or the dean’s delegate) of their major college to discuss their academic status. Students placed on freshman warning or probation who have no college affiliation are required to schedule an appointment with the Academic Advising Center.

Students on academic probation, must attain a 2.00 cumulative ALT+U GPA by the end of next their next term of enrollment. Students who do not attain the cumulative ALT+U GPA of a 2.00 by the end of the next term of enrollment will become candidates for academic dismissal.

Students failing all of the courses for which they are registered for a single semester, including summer session, will become candidates for academic dismissal from the university.

The academic record of each candidate for dismissal will be reviewed by the dean of the student’s major college (or the dean’s delegate). The dean (or the dean’s delegate) may elect to retain on academic probation some students who are candidates for academic dismissal. The Vice Provost (or the Vice Provost’s delegate) will review the academic record of those candidates for dismissal who have no college affiliation. All students not retained on academic probation will be academically dismissed from the university.

Students retained on academic probation must raise their cumulative GPA in ALT+U courses to at least 2.00 by the end of the next term. Those failing to do so will again become candidates for academic dismissal from the university and their records will be reviewed as described above. Additional retention on academic probation will be granted only in exceptional cases.

Students re-entering on final probation (see “Reinstatement”) who fail to attain a new cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher will be dismissed.

After a student has earned 90 or more semester hours (including ALT+U courses and all transfer credit), they must have attained a cumulative GPA in ALT+U courses of at least 2.00 if the student was ever previously continued on academic probation or reentered with a baccalaureate-oriented associate degree from an Illinois public community college earned after leaving ALT+U. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative 2.00 or higher GPA will be academically dismissed. Additional retention on academic probation will be granted only in exceptional cases.

Students who have been academically dismissed from the university may not enroll again at ALT+U unless reinstated to the university through the procedure described in the section on “Reinstatement” or “Reentrance of Community College Graduates.”