Credit and Grading Policies

Credit or Credit Hour

The credit, sometimes referred to as semester credit or semester hour, is a unit of academic work. One credit is defined to require fifty minutes in a class each week for one semester (or the equivalent).

One semester credit hour in academic courses requires (1) fifty minutes in class each week for one semester (which ­assumes approximately twice this amount of time in study and preparation outside the classroom), or (2) approximately two and one-half hours in laboratory each week for a semester, or (3) equivalent combinations of (1) and (2). For purposes of equivalency calculations, a semester is assumed to be sixteen weeks. Short term courses of one week (five days) or more require time in class, laboratory, and preparation equivalent to the above for a total of 45 clock hours per credit.

In online courses—whether synchronous, asynchronous, or blended—the same guidelines apply. Synchronous credit hours are calculated the same way as in-seat ones, with one credit hour per week consisting of one hour of contact time with the instructor and two hours of preparation. With asynchronous and blended courses, the credit hours should be thought of on a weekly basis of three hours of total work per credit hour, the equivalent of one hour of contact time plus two hours of preparation. Thus in a three-credit course, the total work expected during a given week would be nine hours. The three hours per credit hour per week are an average to be maintained over the course of the semester; the workload in an individual week may vary according to the assignments the instructor has planned. One should also note that these guidelines are directed toward undergraduate courses; graduate classes may require more work than that outlined here.

Credits Allowed per Semester

Students may enroll for up to 18 attempted credits per semester; they may enroll for a larger number with permission of the dean or dean's designee. Students accepted into the professional level Doctor of Pharmacy program may enroll in up to 21 attempted credits. To be eligible for participation in student activities, a student must be enrolled for at least 8 credits.

The number of credits awarded for a graduate thesis and other courses varies from department to department, and students may spread the registration for those credits over several semesters.

Grade Reports and Transcripts

Students may access final grades electronically by logging on to

Students who wish to order official Idaho State University transcripts will find the latest ordering information on the web at For additional information, or if you have specific questions about the process, please email

Grading System

Idaho State University uses a graduated letter grading system to indicate the instructor’s evaluation of a student’s performance in a course. These letter grades are converted to a numerical value for computing a student’s semester and cumulative grade point averages (GPAs). At the beginning of each course, an instructor should inform students via the course syllabus or other written means of the criteria to be used in evaluating their performance. There are no campus-wide grading criteria.

Idaho State University uses letter grades with the four (4) point maximum grading scale. The grade A is the highest possible grade and a grade of F is considered failing. Plus (+) or minus (-) symbols are used to indicate grades that fall above or below the letter grades. The grades of A+, F+, and F- are not used. For purposes of calculating grade points and averages, the plus (+) increases the grade’s point value by 0.3 and minus (-) decreases the grade’s point value by 0.3 (e.g., a grade B+ is equivalent to 3.3 and A- is 3.7). A student’s work is rated in accordance with the following definitions.

Late Work Policy 

No additional work may be considered in calculating a grade once grading has closed unless an incomplete was awarded for the grade and a course completion contract is in place.

Grade Value Description
A 4.00 Excellent Performance
A- 3.70 Excellent Performance
B+ 3.30 Good Performance
B 3.00 Good Performance
B- 2.70 Good Performance
C+ 2.30 Adequate Performance
C 2.00 Adequate Performance
C- 1.70 Adequate Performance
D+ 1.30 Marginal Performance
D 1.00 Marginal Performance
D- 0.70 Marginal Performance
F 0.00 Unacceptable Performance
X 0.00 Stopped Attending

Courses in which any A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+ or C grade is earned are always acceptable toward an undergraduate program and graduation requirements unless specifically excluded for a particular course, program, or degree. Courses in which a C-, D+, D or D- grade is earned are acceptable towards graduation requirements unless otherwise noted. No credits are awarded for any course in which an F grade is earned. A grade of C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or F is considered failing for students pursuing graduate level programs or degrees.

Other Grade Symbols

Other grading symbols used are: I - Incomplete; IP - thesis or dissertation work “in progress"; W - Withdrawal after the close of the registration period; P or NP - the Pass or No pass option; S or U, for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory; and X for no basis for grade. Each of these grades has special conditions which are described below.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade, I, may be awarded only as a final grade (for undergraduate courses) and only at the discretion of the instructor. To be eligible for an Incomplete grade, a student must be experiencing extenuating circumstances and have satisfactorily completed a substantial portion of the course (approximately 70%, as defined by the instructor). No grade points are awarded for a course in which an Incomplete grade is earned.

The instructor must complete a Course Completion Contract that stipulates the assignment(s) required to finish the course, the allowable time period, and the grade to be posted if no further work is completed. No student will be allowed more than one year to complete the required assign­ment(s). Both the student and the instructor must sign the contract, a copy of which is to be given to the student. The instructor retains a copy and a third copy is kept on file by the department head. Upon the student’s timely satisfaction of the Course Completion Contract, the instructor will fill out a Change of Grade Form and send it to the Registrar.

Students should NOT re-register for a course in which an incomplete grade has been assigned. If the Registrar does not receive a Change of Grade Form within a one-year time period following the recording of the Incomplete, the Registrar’s Office will automatically convert the Incomplete to an F or the grade indicated on the Course Completion Contract. Only in extreme circumstances will a ­student be allowed an extension of the time stipulated by the instructor. A normal ­petition process may be used for those circumstances that would extend the ­allowable time period beyond one calendar year following the recording of the Incomplete grade.

Pass/No-Pass Grades

P/NP grades are recorded in courses taken under the pass/no-pass option.  A grade of Pass denotes satisfactory work equivalent to a C or higher; credits are earned. No credits are awarded for any course in which an NP grade is received. This option is offered as an inducement for students to take courses outside their major curriculum. The following restrictions apply: the option applies only to undergraduate courses; the option must be declared using a schedule change card signed by the instructor and the department no later than the last day to add or drop courses; credits earned under the option will not satisfy specific graduation requirements except that they may be counted towards total credits required; students taking a course under this option must comply with the established prerequisites or obtain the permission of the instructor; and students may not register for more than one P/NP course per semester.

All GPA calculations exclude credits for courses in which a grade of P or NP is received.


S/U grades are awarded in such courses as student teaching and special projects to which the regular performance grades are not applicable. The use of S/U grades must be specifically approved by the University Curriculum Council. All students in such courses are graded either S or U. There is no method for incorporating these grades into a student’s grade point average. No credits are awarded in any course for which a U grade is earned.

X Grade

An instructor can give an X grade when a student has not attended or stops attending, therefore giving the instructor no basis to calculate a grade for the student. The X grade is equivalent to an F. No credits or grade points are awarded in any courses for which an X grade is reported.

Withdrawal Grades

A student may drop a course within the add/drop period; no transcript entry will reflect his/her ever having been in the course.

From the end of the add/drop period to the end of the withdrawal period, a student may withdraw at his/her option. After the withdrawal period, a student may withdraw from ­individual courses only by the ­procedure ­described in the section covering withdrawal procedures. In both of these two cases, a W grade will be recorded, and no grade points will be awarded.

If a student simply ceases to attend classes without formally withdrawing from the university, an F or an X grade will be recorded for each affected class. A student may be withdrawn from a course or receive a reduced grade as a result of disruptive classroom behavior.

Information about add/drop periods and withdrawal periods can be found on the Academic Calendar. Information on withdrawing from classes can be found in the Withdrawal Procedures section of this catalog.

Midterm Grades

Instructors are required to report all grades in lower-division courses at midterm, including A, B, C, D, F, S, U, P, NP (not passing), X, NB (no basis to grade) to help improve student retention. Instructors are encouraged to report midterm grades for upper-division courses as well. Midterm grades are not recorded on the student’s transcript and are not used in grade point average computations.

Grade Point Average

A grade point average (GPA) is computed each semester by dividing the sum of the products of grade points and credits for each course by the sum of the credits for the courses. Numerical grade points for each course credit are assigned as shown earlier, on a scale in which an A is 4.00 points and an F is 0.00 points. For ­purposes of calculating grade points and averages, the plus (+), if present, increases the grade’s value by .3 and minus (-) decreases the grade’s value by .3 (e.g., a grade B+ is equivalent to 3.3 and A- is 3.7).

An accumulated grade point average (Accum. GPA) is computed by the same process, but the student’s entire record is covered by the computation.

To maintain good academic standing and avoid academic warning, academic probation or academic dismissal, a student must maintain a minimum Idaho State University GPA of 2.0.

Repeating Courses

A course in which an F grade is earned must be repeated if that course is required for graduation. Courses in which a D grade is earned must be repeated if the major department so requires. Also, a student may elect to repeat a course provided he/she has not completed a course for which that course was a prerequisite. If a course is repeated at ISU, the latest grade is used in computing grade point average unless the description includes language indicating the maximum number of credits for which the course may be repeated. Students who wish an exception to this policy may contact the Dean's Office of their college to submit an undergraduate student petition to the Office of Academic Affairs. 

Credits and Grades for Transfer Courses

Idaho State University recognizes, accepts, and requires all college-level coursework attempted at institutions with regional accreditation status be submitted for credit evaluation.

Idaho State University honors the originating institutions course level classifications (i.e., lower division, upper division, professional technical, remedial, etc.)

The Office of the Registrar initially evaluates lower division coursework to determine transferable credit for incoming undergraduate and postbaccalaureate transfer students. Lower division course equivalency decisions are made according to course content and are subject to periodical review by individual departments and by ISU’s Office of Academic Affairs. Upper division course content equivalency decisions are made by individual departments at ISU.

Credits awarded for International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), BYU (FLATS), and ACT/SAT exams are reviewed by the Idaho State Board of Education, ISU’s Office of Academic Affairs, and departments.

Coursework classified as correspondence, extension, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or credit by exam by the issuing institution is subject to reclassification in accordance with ISU governing authorities.

Coursework taught under a different system from ISU's will be converted (e.g., quarter hours) to semester hours.

Transferred coursework is subject to university limits as defined in the degree requirements section of the catalog. Where there is a question as to whether transferred courses satisfy specific department requirements, a review of the transfer work will be conducted in consultation with the department concerned.

Transfer course grades are converted to the ISU equivalent with no corresponding grade point average.

The university reserves the right to reclassify repeated credit in accordance with its own policy governing the acceptance and limitation of such credit.

Transfer grades and credits are not used in calculating the Idaho State University grade point average. Students who repeat an ISU course elsewhere may use the transfer course in accordance with ISU’s repeat course policy but the ISU grade point average will not be impacted.

Students transferring to ISU with an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, or Associate of Arts and Science degree, from a regionally accredited institution, or with
an Idaho SBOE GEM competency area, will be considered to have met ISU’s corresponding general education requirements.

Credits transfer to Idaho State University according to the level at which they were earned in the institution of origin. Transferred lower division (1000- or 2000-level) credits may NOT count as upper division (3000- or 4000-level) credits, regardless of the appropriate course content equivalencies.

Awarding of Credit from Non-Accredited Institutions

The process for considering possible transfer credits and recognizing undergraduate degrees granted by non-accredited ­colleges and universities is as follows:

The student must petition the appropriate academic department at Idaho State University. In addition to formal evaluation of the request, the department may ­require competency verification.

In the petition, the student must explain how s/he wishes to deviate from university policy. Some scenarios include:

a) wishing to have certain courses from the non-accredited institutions substitute for courses at Idaho State University that fulfill General Education Objectives;

b) a request to have designated courses from the non-accredited institution substitute for Idaho State University courses that fulfill requirements in the student’s major; and/or

c) a request that an entire degree from a non-accredited institution be recognized as equivalent to that earned from an accredited institution.

Grade and Credit Exclusion Policy

 This policy allows undergraduate students to request one or more consecutive semesters of course work be disregarded in the calculation of total credits earned and cumulative GPA. 

All grades, past and present, will remain on the transcript, but the excluded grades will not count toward graduation or be calculated into the cumulative GPA. To apply, a student must file a petition for Grade and Credit Exclusion with the dean of his/her college. Eligibility for the program will be subject to the following ­conditions:

  1. A minimum of two (2) years will have elapsed since last enrollment at ISU or at least five (5) years must have elapsed since the grades were received.
  2. Applicants must have at least one semester in which the term GPA is less that a 2.0 included in the renewal petition.
  3. This policy does not apply to excluding individual courses within a semester.
  4. Grade and credit exclusion may be awarded one time only.
  5. Grade and credit exclusion shall not apply to any credits earned for a completed, prior academic degree.
  6. Before the petition may be filed, the student must have completed a semester or semesters of an additional 12 credit hours of course work at Idaho State University with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 or at least 24 credit hours of course work with a minimum grade point average of 2.00. [The student cannot exclude any grades received prior to receiving a post-secondary degree or certificate. (Exception: If the student has courses that were ineligible for use toward a particular post-secondary degree or certificate, grades earned in those courses may be excluded if other criteria listed above are met. Documentation should come from institution)].
  7. An “S grade” in Math 0090 transcripted at ISU may be considered towards credit minimum listed above. 
  8. Upon approval of the petition, the student’s permanent official academic record will be suitably annotated to indicate that no work taken during the disregarded term(s) may apply toward the computation of credits and grade points, academic standing, and graduation requirements. However, all work will remain on the records, ensuring an accurate academic history.
  9. Students should be aware that this policy MIGHT NOT BE ACCEPTED at transfer institutions or within individual ISU departments. Grade and Credit exclusion granted elsewhere is not transferable to Idaho State University. Idaho State University conditions must be met.