Policies concerning evaluation of student work ("grading") are under continuous review and subject to change. Department chairs are responsible for informing department members of basic faculty grading policy and procedures and for ensuring adherence to these policies and procedures.

It is the responsibility of the instructor to describe to each class the methods of evaluation. Students should feel free to ask for an explanation of the grading practices in any course.

Additional definitions which are applicable to special circumstances for graduate programs can be found in the Graduate Education section.

Basic Definitions

The following symbols shall be used in evaluating student performance. Performance will be interpreted to reflect the quality of the student's accomplishment relative to the standards set for each course.

A = Performance of the student has been of the highest level, showing sustained excellence in meeting course responsibilities.
B = Performance of the student has been good, though not of the highest level.
C = Performance of the student has been adequate, satisfactorily meeting the course requirements.
D = Performance of the student has been less than adequate.
F = Performance of the student has been such that course requirements have not been met.
CR = (Credit) Performance of the student in undergraduate level course has been equivalent to grades A through C-; performance of the student in graduate level courses has been equivalent to grades A through B-.
NC = (No Credit) Performance of the student has been less than that of CR level.
I = (Incomplete) Performance of the student has been incomplete due to circumstances beyond his/her control. Passing work was being accomplished at the time the incomplete was issued, and there is a possibility of earning credit if the course requirements are completed within the time allowed.
W = (Withdrawal) Indicates that the student was permitted to drop the course after the 20th day (4th week) of instruction with the approval of the instructor and appropriate campus officials. It carries no connotation of quality of student performance and is not used as units attempted in calculating grade point average.
AU = (Audit) Indicates that the student was enrolled on a non-credit basis. Enrollment as an auditor is subject to the permission of the instructor and shall be permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll in the course on a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Auditors are subject to the same fee structure as credit students and regular class attendance is expected. Once enrolled as an auditor, a student may not change to credit status unless such a change is requested prior to the last day to add classes.
SP = (Satisfactory Progress) Performance of the student in a course which normally extends beyond one term has been evaluated and found to be satisfactory, but the assignments for the subsequent term(s) must be completed before a final grade can be assigned.
RD = (Report Delayed) Indicates no grade was turned in by the professor.
U = (Unauthorized Incomplete) Indicates that an enrolled student did not withdraw from the course but failed to complete course requirements. It is used when, in the opinion of the instructor, completed assignments or course activities or both were insufficient to make normal evaluation of academic performance possible. For purposes of grade point average and progress point computation, this symbol is equivalent to an F.


The basic grading system to be used at San Francisco State University is the A-F system (see definitions above).

An alternative Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) system may be used under the following conditions:

For students working toward a master's degree, no more than 30% of the units used on the Graduate Approved Program, including transfer work, may be taken for CR grades.

Use of Incomplete (I) Grade

An incomplete signifies that a portion of required course work has not been completed and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. A request for a grade of Incomplete may be initiated by either the student or the instructor. Petition for Incomplete may be obtained at the Student Services Center and must be signed by the instructor and department chair. It is the responsibility of the student to bring pertinent information to the instructor and to reach agreement on the means by which the final grade is assigned when the work agreed upon has been completed and evaluated. An incomplete must be made up within one calendar year immediately following the end of the term in which it was assigned. This limitation prevails whether or not the student maintains continuous enrollment. Failure to complete the assigned work will result in an incomplete being counted as equivalent to an F for grade point average. If a student has extenuating circumstances and an extension of this one year is necessary, the student should contact the instructor involved and obtain a designated extension of time to make up the incomplete. The form to be used for this extension is the Petition for Waiver of College Regulations. The petition must be approved by the instructor and the department chair and forwarded to the Registrar's Office.

A grade of Incomplete (I) will not be changed after a degree or credential has been awarded even though it is made up within the time period.

Use of Satisfactory Progress (SP) Grade

The SP symbol is used in connection with courses that extend beyond one academic term. It indicates that work is in progress and has been evaluated and found to be satisfactory to date, but that assignment of a precise grade must await completion of additional work. Cumulative enrollment in units attempted may not exceed the total number applicable to the student's educational objective. Work is to be completed within a stipulated time period. Any extension of time limit must receive prior authorization by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies (for undergraduate courses) or by the Dean of the Graduate Division (for graduate courses).

Use of Unauthorized Incomplete (U) Grade

The symbol U shall be used where a student, who is enrolled on the census date, does not withdraw from a course but fails to complete it. The U symbol denotes failure of the course, shall be identified as a failing grade in the transcript legend, and shall be counted as units attempted but not passed in computing the grade point average. In courses which are graded CR/NC or in cases where the student has elected CR/NC evaluation, use of the U symbol is inappropriate and NC shall be used instead.

NOTE: The U grade is not a substitute for an F. The U grade is used, for example, when the student (a) did not drop or withdraw before the published dates to drop or withdraw without penalty AND (b) failed to complete a substantial portion of the course requirements.


Grade point averages are determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of units attempted in courses in which A-F grades are assigned.

Grade Points

The following grade points are assigned per unit of course work:

A = 4.0 B- = 2.7 D+ = 1.3
A- = 3.7 C+ = 2.3 D = 1.0
B+ = 3.3 C = 2.0 D- = 0.7
B = 3.0 C- = 1.7 F = 0.0

No other grading symbol, including F, I, AU, SP, RD, CR, NC, carries grade point credit.


One Semester Unit—One class meeting per week for fifteen (15) weeks. (At least two hours of study is expected in preparation for each hour of class.) or

Three hours of laboratory work per week for fifteen (15) weeks, or

Two hours of class work in activity-type courses in art, music, and speech per week for fifteen (15) weeks. (At least one hour of outside preparation is expected for each hour of laboratory or activity class work.)

Summer session and extension units are evaluated on a basis of hours to units equal to those above, but adapted to the special schedules of these programs.


CEUs are nationally recognized units of measurement for participation in professional development programs for which academic credit is not awarded. CEUs may neither be applied to nor substituted for graduation requirements. One CEU is earned for 10 hours of instruction. San Francisco State University policy requires an evaluation of student learning for all courses which award CEUs.


Student Appeal for Grade Change

San Francisco State University policy, consistent with California State University policy, guarantees the student a right to appeal a final course grade when the student believes that the assigned grade does not reflect what the student has earned according to the criteria for grading as outlined by the instructor of the course. SFSU policy states that: (1) It is the responsibility of the instructor of each course to define his/her grading policy and criteria as early in the semester and as explicitly as possible while conforming to accepted university practices. If there is any deviation from this original statement of course policy, all affected students should be informed. (2) It shall be assumed that the grade assigned is correct and that the student appealing the grade must justify the need for a change of the grade assigned. (3) Normally, grade appeals should be resolved informally between the student and faculty involved. (4) A student who believes s/he has been assigned an improper grade should meet with the instructor of record and together review the grading procedures used to determine the grade assigned on the student's transcript. If, after careful review of the grading procedures, the student is still dissatisfied, or if the instructor of record refuses to take part in the informal process, the student may initiate the formal grade appeal procedure of the particular SFSU college by which the course is offered. For information about the specific grade appeal policies and procedures of each of the eight colleges, contact the appropriate college dean's office.


Unless otherwise stated, courses may not be repeated for additional units of credit.

When undergraduate students must repeat a course in which the grade was F, they will earn units completed only once. All units attempted and all grade points will be included in the student's cumulative totals.

When undergraduate students choose to repeat a course in which the grade was passing, in order to raise the grade, they will be charged for all units attempted and all grade points earned but units completed will be granted only once.

A student in graduate standing may not repeat a course taken for credit since earning the baccalaureate degree, in which a grade of C or better was earned on the first attempt. Grades of C- or lower are not acceptable on a Graduate Approved Program for meeting the requirements of a master's degree.

If graduate students repeat a course in which a C or lower grade was earned, they will be charged for all units attempted and all grade points earned but units completed will be granted only once.

It is not possible for graduate students to raise their undergraduate grade point average by repeating undergraduate courses.

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by