Academic Programs Catalog

General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations

Grading Systems

Michigan State University employs three systems of grading: a numerical system, a supplemental credit-no credit system, and a limited pass-no grade system.

All grades are final and may not be changed by re-examination or by the submission of additional work. See Repeating a Course.

The Numerical System

The numerical system consists of the following scale. 4.0 - 3.5 - 3.0 - 2.5 - 2.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 - 0.0.

Grading Procedure of the Numerical System:

  1. Credit is awarded at the following minimum levels:
    1.0 for undergraduate students.
    2.0 for graduate students.
    However, all grades are counted in the calculation of the grade-point average (GPA).
  2. The minimum cumulative grade-point average required for graduation is a 2.0 for undergraduates and 3.0 for graduate students.
  3. In particular graduate programs the number of 2.0 grades acceptable for credit may be expressly restricted and/or levels higher than the 2.0 minimum may be established for the fulfillment of degree requirements.
  4. Grades given in courses completed under enrollment on the numerical system cannot be converted to credit or no-credit under the credit-no credit system.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic required significant changes to instruction, S-Satisfactory and NS-Not Satisfactory grades were made available to undergraduate and graduate students for Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 classes. Summer 2021 S/NS grades were available for undergraduate students only.

S-Satisfactory – Credit granted represents a level of performance equivalent to 1.0 and higher for undergraduate students and 2.0 and higher for graduate students. NS-Not Satisfactory – No credit granted represents a level of performance below 1.0 for undergraduate students and below 2.0 for graduate students except for the College of Veterinary Medicine Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students where NS represents performance below 1.0.

The Credit-No Credit System

Effective Fall 2023, the Credit-No Credit system deadline has been extended to December 8, 2023. 

The credit-no credit system is intended to allow students to study in areas outside the major field of study without jeopardizing their grade-point averages. In the credit-no credit system the following symbols are used.

CR-Credit—means that credit is granted and represents a level of performance equivalent to or above the grade-point average required for graduation. Thus, undergraduate students must perform at or above the 2.0 level before credit is granted; graduate students must perform at or above the 3.0 level.

NC-No Credit—means that no credit is granted and represents a level of performance below the grade-point average required for graduation, i.e., below 2.0 for undergraduate students, below 3.0 for graduate students.

Grading Procedure of the CR-NC System

  1. Grades on the CR-NC system are not included in computing the semester or cumulative grade-point average.
  2. Enrollment on a CR-NC basis is recorded with the academic advisor and with the Registrar. The instructor's class list does not indicate which students are enrolled on CR-NC basis.
  3. When the course is completed, all students are graded on the numerical system.
  4. The Registrar then converts the numerical grades to credit or no credit in accord with the definitions of CR-NC stated above, but retains the numerical grades in the student's academic records.
  5. When a student changes a major preference or a major, the Registrar will convert those letter grades to numerical grades in courses that are necessarily graded on the numerical system in the new major upon request by the student's college.

Enrollment in the CR-NC System
Enrollment on a CR-NC basis is open to students, at their option, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Course prerequisites and other criteria for enrolling in any course shall be determined by the department or college offering the course and apply equally to both the numerical and the CR-NC systems.
  2. The choice of numerical or CR-NC system does not affect admission to the course.
  3. All courses in every department and college are available on a CR-NC basis unless these courses are:
    1. Used to satisfy the Tier I writing requirement, the Tier II writing requirement, the university mathematics requirement, and Integrative Studies Program requirements, or
    2. Designated as Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3 courses under the remedial-developmental-preparatory course policy.
    3. Specifically excluded from CR-NC enrollment by the department, school, or college of the student's major preference or major, or the unit recommending the student for certification.
  4. Limitations:
    1. No undergraduate student may enroll in more than a total of 20 credits on the CR-NC system.
    2. The limitations on the number of credits a graduate student may take in a given semester on the CR-NC basis, and the total number of credits that may be taken in a given degree program on a CR-NC basis, shall be established by the college, department, or school, or the unit recommending the student for certification in which the student is a major.
  5. Each department, school, or college, or the unit recommending the student for certification shall designate those courses that its majors or candidates for certification may not take on the CR-NC system.
  6. Choice of the CR-NC system must be communicated by the student to the Office of the Registrar by the middle of the semester date in the fall and spring semesters and may not be changed after that date.
  7. Any course taken more than once must be repeated on the same grading system under which the course was completed the first time, except where standard requirements to the contrary must be satisfied in order to meet graduation requirements.

The Pass-No Grade System

This system is used only in courses specifically approved by the University Committee on Curriculum. Non-credit courses and those involving field experience are the usual types of courses approved for P-N grading. Courses approved for P-N grading are so marked in the Schedule of Courses on the web.

In the pass-no grade system the following symbols are used:

    P-Pass—means that credit is granted and that the student achieved a level of performance judged to be satisfactory by the instructor.

    N-No Grade—means that no credit is granted and that the student did not achieve a level of performance judged to be satisfactory by the instructor.