Faculty assign grades on the basis of achievement in the subject matter of the course and in accordance with accepted professional standards for that subject. The grade earned by a student thus represents the quality of work and is not based merely on competition within the class.

  •  The grade of A represents exceptional work in which the student shows that he or she has firmly grasped and achieved the objectives of the course.
  •  The grade of B indicates very good work and considerable grasp of the essentials of the course.
  •  The grade of C indicates good work and a usable grasp of the essentials of the course.
  •  The grade of D indicates a definite, but not necessarily coherent, knowledge of the course.
  •  The grade of F indicates that the student has not achieved even a minimum grasp of the essentials of the course. This grade can also result from failure to withdraw officially from a course (see Change of Registration and Refund of Fees Upon Withdrawal).

An incomplete grade of I may be given to a student who has been doing satisfactory work in a course but, for reasons beyond the control of the student and deemed justifiable by the instructor, had not completed all requirements for a course when grades were submitted. A letter grade may not be changed to an I (Incomplete) after the term has ended and grades have been recorded. A written explanation of the reason for the I must be forwarded by the instructor to the Office of Records. This explanation will be included in the student's permanent record, with copies to the student and department chairperson. For fall term courses, the final date to complete an I will be March 1 of the following term; for the spring term courses, September 1; for all summer term courses, October 1. With approval by the instructor and the dean of the college in which the course is taught, the completion date may be extended. Courses not completed by the appropriate date will be converted to an F.

Students should not register for the same course the subsequent term. Rather, the student should work individually with the instructor to fulfill the course requirements. The instructor will initiate a grade change upon completion of the course requirements. If no formal grade change occurs within the allotted time frame, the I automatically converts to an F. Any I that is still pending by graduation will be converted to an F.

If a student receives an I as a result of being summoned to active military duty, the student will have one academic year from the date when he or she is released from active duty to complete the course requirements and have the change of grade recorded. It is the student's responsibility to inform the registrar or associate director of records regarding the Incomplete grade.

Department chairs are granted authority to convert grades of I into final grades in cases where instructors may have severed connections with the University or have been otherwise unable to convert the grades.
A progress grade, PR, is given in certain approved courses to indicate that work is still in progress on a project that occupies more than one semester. This grade is changed to a final letter grade at the end of the term in which the work is completed.

The PR grade may also be given at the end of a term in courses specifically identified as competency-based1 to indicate that the student needs more time to demonstrate a mastery of the subject matter. In such instances, the PR grade will be converted to a letter grade by the instructor no later than the end of the subsequent term, excluding the summer. A PR grade not changed by this time is automatically converted to an F grade.

W represents a withdrawal properly processed at any time from the end of the full-refund period through the last day to withdraw with a W (as published in the Academic Calendar for each semester). For courses involving foreign travel, the last day to drop a course with a W shall be the date at which the student first leaves the campus to begin the travel. Withdrawal after the designated date (or an improper withdrawal) is recorded as F. Withdrawal thereafter (or improperly done, at any time) is recorded as F. Petitions for late withdrawal must be submitted within one year from the time a grade in the course was earned. If the grade resulted from circumstances over which the student had no control, the student may petition the appropriate dean for a late withdrawal.

A Petition for Late Withdrawal and the Repetition Form cannot be used for the same course. In other words, Petition for a Late Withdrawal cannot be processed for any course that was repeated and a recalculation of point average processed and posted on the student's academic record.

When withdrawals change a student's status (full- time to part-time), the student immediately forfeits any privileges contingent upon full-time status, and all interested parties which legally require it will be notified.

The distribution of achievement levels, and therefore of grades, in a large unselected group of students generally follows the normal frequency curve, in which 5% to 10% are A's, 20% to 25% are B's, 40% C's, 20% to 25% D's, and 5% to 10% F's. However, since it is likely that substantial variation from the normal will occur in individual classes, the instructor does not use the 'curve' as a standard to be imposed, but only as a model against which the instructor may compare each particular class, using his or her own judgment on the basis of professional standards.

Instructors may use plus and minus modifications of the grades, but they are not recorded or used in calculating the point average.


The definition of competency-based instruction is to be provided by the instructor responsible for the course. Competency-based courses are so designated in the Schedule of Classes.

The Point Average and Scholastic Standing

The student's scholastic standing is indicated by the quality point average (also called "grade point average," "grade average," or "point average").

For determining this average, every grade has a quality point value for each semester hour it represents, as follows:

  • A, four quality points
  • B, three points
  • C, two points
  • D, one point
  • F, zero points

For example, an A in a three-hour course is worth 12 quality points; a D in a four-hour course, four points; and an F in any course, zero points. To find the point average, the total number of quality points earned is divided by the total GPA hours. Thus, a student who earns 16 hours and 40 quality points has a point index of 2.50. Only grades of A, B, C, D, and F are included in the calculation of the point average.

Grading Options

Traditional Grade (A,B,C)/No Credit

To receive credit for courses offered on a traditional grade/no credit basis, a student must earn a grade of C or better. If the student fails to do so, an NC is entered on his or her transcript.

An NC does not fulfill the requirements for satisfactory completion of the course; it does not affect the grade point  average.

Audit (AU)

The AU grade indicates a student has registered for a course on an audit basis and has met the audit attendance requirement established by the instructor. Failure to meet the attendance requirement results in a grade of AU (W).

Students must indicate their election of the audit grading option at the time of registration or within the time limits established for adding a class. The audit option will not be changed to the standard grading option beyond the last day to add a class.

Credit/No-Credit (CR/NC)

Credit/no-credit grades are given in some specific courses as approved by the Academic Senate. Such courses are identified in the course descriptions.

Credit/No-Credit (CR/NC) (Student Option)

To encourage students to experiment with courses outside their major field of concentration, a credit/no-credit policy exists within the following guidelines.

  • Youngstown State University students who have completed at least 15 semester hours of credit and have a grade point average of 2.00 or better, or transfer students admitted unconditionally who have at least 30 semester hours of transfer credit, may elect to take a course for credit/no-credit.
  • The grade recorded for the student is not a letter grade, but either CR (credit) or NC (no-credit). If a student who has opted for CR/NC earns an A, B, or C in the class, the grade officially assigned is CR; otherwise it is NC. In either case, the grade point average is not affected.
  • This option may be elected for a maximum of twelve (12) semester hours for the baccalaureate degree or six (6) semester hours for the associate degree. Courses offered only under the CR/NC option (by department designation) do not count as a student-elected credit/no credit class. Students are restricted to taking one CR/NC course per fall and spring semester and one CR/NC course per non-overlapping  summer term.
  • Courses taken under the CR/NC option may not be counted toward a student's major or minor. Students should confer with their advisors prior to electing the CR/NC option.
  • Students must indicate their election of the CR/NC option at the time of registration or within the time limits established for adding classes. The CR/NC option will not be changed to the standard grading option beyond the last day to add a class.

Changing of Grading Options

You may change your grading option only through the last day to add a class.

Excluding Older Grades (Statute of Limitations)

An undergraduate student currently enrolled may petition the dean of his or her college to exclude from the calculation of the grade point average grades earned five or more calendar years before. If the petition is approved, all grades (not merely grades of D and F) earned during the specified quarter or semester and all previous grades (not merely grades of D and F) will then be removed from the calculation. However, all grades remain on the permanent record.

Excluded course credit will not count toward the total hours required for graduation. However, courses passed may fulfill basic curriculum requirements and may satisfy prerequisites for higher courses where applicable. Courses excluded from the calculation may be taken again and repeated once without infringing upon repeat privileges specified in catalog course descriptions. Courses excluded are not subject to credit by examination.  A student whose petition has been approved is ineligible for graduation honors. Only one petition from each student may be approved. Students may not petition to exclude older grades after a degree has been conferred.

Grade Reports

Final grades are available through the MyYSU Portal.

Grade Changes

A request for a grade change must be made to the course instructor. Applications for grade changes must be signed by the instructor, department chair, and dean. All grade changes must be submitted by the dean or the instructor to the Office of Records; they will not be accepted from the student. After a degree has been conferred, in no case may a grade change be made for a course or courses taken while pursuing that degree.

A student's academic record contains a complete history of his or her academic performance while earning a degree. Therefore, the academic record of a student who graduates may not be revised using a Grade Change Form, Repetition Form, Petition for a Late Withdrawal, or Statute of Limitations.

In the case of a student who has completed an associate degree, the above policy may, on occasion, be waived, but only if the student is currently pursuing a baccalaureate degree. However, changes cannot be made in a student's record which would affect the status of the awarded associate degree. Waivers must be approved by the appropriate dean.

Credit by Examination-Departmental

A currently enrolled student who can demonstrate ability and knowledge in a particular subject area may establish credit in certain courses without enrolling in them, by taking a special examination (through the appropriate department). An examination fee is assessed for each examination. The only grade possible is "CRX", and there is no effect on the student's grade point average. For the examination fee, see "Fees and Expenses". Information on courses for which credit by examination is possible may be obtained from the student's academic dean or the Office of Testing. Registration for departmental tests is done through the specific department.

Recalculation of Point Average

A current undergraduate student may wish to improve his or her cumulative point average by repeating a course in which a grade of 'D' or 'F' was earned. In order to recalculate the cumulative point average, the repetition must be consistent with the policy on repetition of courses, and the student must initiate the recalculation process with the approval of his or her advisor (or the dean, if it is a second repetition). A recalculation will be made for only the immediately preceding grade for the course, regardless of the number of repeats, and may be made only once for any course. Although courses are not deleted from the permanent record, the record is adjusted to reflect the inclusion of only the last grade in the computation of the point average. The hours credited toward degree hours completed are those earned with the last grade.

Only undergraduate students currently attending the University may request this recalculation privilege, and only courses taken at Youngstown State University may be used in recalculating the cumulative point average. A post-baccalaureate student is not eligible to petition for a recalculation unless both the course and the repetition are completed subsequent to the conferring of the degree. A student holding the associate degree may petition after receiving the associate degree only if currently pursuing a baccalaureate degree. All YSU grades, including those deducted from accumulative totals as a result of an approved Repetition Form, will be counted in determining honors for graduation.

Proficiency in English and Grading

The student's ability to express himself or herself in English is the concern not of the Department of English alone, but of every member of the University faculty. Inadequate competence in English is to be regarded as a reason for lowering a student's grade in any course in the University.

Absence from Classes and Examinations

The problem of excessive class absence concerns instructor and student, and consequently requires their mutual effort. All students must realize that for their own welfare they are expected to attend all class meetings of courses in which they are enrolled.

The instructor, however, has the prerogative of determining the relationship between class attendance, achievement, and course grades, and the responsibility for communicating the relationship to the students at the beginning of each term.

A student must have the instructor's consent in order to take any examination at a time other than that scheduled.

The faculty believes that classroom activities are essential to learning. The student is responsible for knowing and meeting all course requirements, including tests, assignments, and class participation, as indicated by the course instructor.

The responsibility for work missed during absence rests with the student. The instructor has no obligation to give make-up graded coursework or to review other class work missed by a student as a result of absence except under those specific conditions cited below:

  •  Participation in University-sponsored activities. University-sponsored activities are those that are scheduled by academic, student affairs, and athletic units. They include, but are not limited to: intercollegiate athletic competitions activities approved by academic units, including artistic performances; R.O.T.C. functions; academic field trips; professional conferences; and special events connected with coursework.
  •  Government-required activities, such as military assignments, jury duty, or court appearances.
  •  Religious observances that prevent the student from attending class.
  •  Death of an immediate family member, including father, mother, sister, brother, spouse, children, step-children, step-parent, parent-in-laws, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandparents, foster parents, foster children, legal guardians, any person who stands in the place of a parent (loco parentis), or a domestic partner.
  •  Documented personal illness.


The following guidelines describe procedures for students, sponsors of appropriate activities, and instructors.

Students shall:

  •  Provide all scheduled activity dates to their instructors at the start of the semester. For unforeseen absences, notify the instructor as early as possible in the semester of the upcoming activity.
  •  In the case of a University-sponsored event, provide the sponsor of the activity with a list of classes that conflict with the proposed activity.
  •  In the event the absence was due to illness or injury, verification from a health center or medical professional should be presented to the instructor. If the illness was not severe enough to warrant a medical visit, instructors should use their best judgment in determining if it should be excused.
  •  Be responsible for all material covered in class during their absence. Students are responsible for completing any work resulting from their absence. In no case is an excuse from class to be interpreted as a release from class responsibility.
  •  Out of courtesy, remind the instructor of the absence approximately one week prior to the absence.

Sponsors of University-sponsored activities shall:

  •  Provide each participating student with a signed letter for each of the student’s affected classes, to be given to their instructors, including time, date, and location of the event. This letter should be provided at the beginning of the semester, or as early as possible in the semester.
  •  Address any concerns a faculty member might have related to the scheduled activity.

Instructors shall:

  •  Inform the student about graded coursework that will be or was missed.
  •  Determine an alternative due date for graded coursework missed.