Letter grades are awarded in courses on a four-point scale as follows:
A = 4.00
B = 3.00
C = 2.00
D = 1.00
F = 0
Plus and minus grades are proportioned fractionally (e.g., B+ = 3.33, C- = 1.67). Students must maintain an overall GPA of 2.00 (C) by the end of the first year and thereafter. Wheaton awards grades of A+ as a commendation, but these grades award no more than 4.00 points.
In yearlong courses a temporary grade is awarded at the end of the first semester and is replaced by a full-credit grade (most often two credits) at the end of the year. Students must complete both semesters of a yearlong course to earn a permanent grade and all credits.
Students admitted prior to Fall 2003 may complete up to four full-credit courses under the Pass/D/F option while those admitted Fall 2003 and later may elect this option only three times. This permits students to enroll in courses they might not otherwise take, with a minimal risk to their academic standing. Instructors are not informed that students have selected this option and will submit normal letter grades, which are then converted to P by the Office of the Registrar if the course is completed with a grade of C or better. This grade is not computed in the GPA.
Any grade below C is recorded as submitted by the instructor and computed in the GPA. Students may select this option at any time up to two weeks after final registration by properly informing the Office of the Registrar. Students should not expect to be able to use this option after that deadline in order to deal with academic difficulties in a course. The decision to use this grading option must be made on the basis of a student’s self-assessment of interests and abilities before the deadline, not on the basis of poor performance after the deadline. Students should also note that most departments do not permit courses in the major to be completed under this option.
Wheaton students may not elect the Pass/D/F option for courses used to fulfill the Foundations or Connections requirements of the Wheaton Curriculum.
Students who, for reasons beyond their control, find that they are unable to complete course work as scheduled may ask for an Incomplete by meeting with one of the Advisors in the Filene Center. Students are expected to provide documentation of the circumstances necessitating this Incomplete and the Incomplete must be supported by the instructor. Incompletes are recorded with the symbol “I” and must be removed within a specified time, normally before the end of the following semester. Incompletes cannot be granted by individual instructors. The notation “NG” is used only when an instructor has been unable to award a final grade; it must be replaced by a letter grade or Incomplete before the beginning of the next semester. Failure to resolve “NG” grades or overdue Incomplete grades will result in the grade being converted to “F” by the close of the following semester.
Occasionally, students may seek to drop or withdraw from a course for which they have registered. Students may do so up to the deadline simply by consulting their advisor and submitting a Drop form in the Office of the Registrar, as long as this does not leave them with fewer than four credits of course work (a normal course load). Students seeking to adjust their schedule below a normal course load or seeking to withdraw from a course after the deadline must petition the Committee on Academic Standing to do so and are urged to meet with one of the Advisors in the Filene Center in the advising center to review the circumstances of their request before submitting it to the committee. When such requests are granted, the course will normally appear on the student’s transcript with the notation “WD.” A student who wishes to withdraw from a course after the deadline without permission will receive a “WF” or “Withdrawal with Failure,” computed in the GPA as a failing grade.
Students may elect to audit a course (register for it without doing the work that would earn academic credit) with the permission of the instructor. Students seeking to audit a course must submit a Course Override form, signed by the instructor, to the Office of the Registrar by the audit deadline. Students may not switch a course from credit status to audit status after this deadline. The grade “AU” designates successful completion of a course as an auditor and is assigned only when the student has met the requirements of the instructor for attendance and participation as an auditor throughout the semester.
Good Standing and Normal Progress
To remain in good standing a student must maintain at least a 2.00 (C) cumulative average, maintain at least a 2.00 (C) average in courses in their major, and maintain normal progress toward the degree. Normal progress requires that a student fall no more than two credits behind his or her class standing. Class standing is defined as follows:
- Sophomore standing: 8 course credit
- Junior standing: 16 course credits
- Senior standing: 24 course credits
Failure to meet any of these criteria could result in a range of institutional actions, from placing the student on academic probation through suspension for one year or academic dismissal. A student on academic probation who fails to regain normal good standing after one semester may be subject to suspension or dismissal by the Committee on Academic Standing. If a student demonstrates exceptionally poor academic performance, the college may suspend that student immediately, rather than first placing the student on academic probation.
In their first year, students may be evaluated in each course at the mid-semester point; any first-year student whose work is unsatisfactory (below C level) at that time may receive a course warning, which obliges the student to meet with his or her instructor immediately. Warnings are not a part of a student’s permanent record, but provide an opportunity for students to remedy academic deficiencies at a point when positive results are still possible. The same may apply to upper class students. A student whose work is sufficiently poor as to make passing the course improbable may be prohibited by the instructor from completing the final examination and failed in the course before the end of the semester.
First-year students who have been excessively absent may also receive a mid-semester excessive absence notification. A student receiving such a notice should meet immediately with the instructor to determine the impact of those absences on their grade and the probability of successful completion of the course, and to resolve any registration errors.
It is important to note that instructors are not required to submit warnings.
First-year students may also receive mid-semester commendations, identifying that the work they have completed, to date, is of exceptional quality. Students receiving commendations are urged to meet with their instructors and advisors to discuss further work in this area.