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General University Grading Systems

Policy Summary

The general University grading system is applicable to all of Stanford University except the Graduate School of Business, the School of Law, and M.D. students in the School of Medicine. Most courses are graded according to the general University grading system. However, courses offered through Law, Business, and Medicine are graded according to those schools' grading systems, even in cases where students in other programs are enrolled in their classes.

Policy Statement

The current General University Grading System adopted by the Faculty Senate on June 2, 1994. Courses completed prior to that time were subject to previous versions of this system.

Effective Spring Quarter 2015-16, the GPA is computed under the general University grading system and published on the official undergraduate transcript. Transcripts for students with coterminal degree programs publish only the undergraduate career GPA based upon the courses assigned to the undergraduate degree program. For undergraduates who graduated before 1986, the GPA is not included on the transcript. The GPA does not appear on the official graduate transcript.

Stanford University does not calculate a rank in class.

Definition and Explanation of Grades

All grades/notations for courses taken in 1995-96 or later are to be visible on student transcripts. Effective Summer Quarter 2008-09, the notation * was changed to GNR (Grade Not Reported).



A (+,-)


B (+,-)


C (+,-)


D (+,-)

Minimal pass


Not Passed


No Credit


Credit (student-elected satisfactory; A, B, or C equivalent)


No-option Satisfactory; A, B, or C equivalent


Pass, letter grade to be reported



N (-)

Continuing course




Repeated Course


Grade not reported (effective beginning Autumn Quarter 2009-10).


NC (No Credit): The notation 'NC' represents unsatisfactory performance in courses taken on a satisfactory/no credit basis. Performance is equivalent to letter grade 'D+' or below.

NP (Not Passed): The notation 'NP' is used by instructors in courses taken for a letter grade that are not passed.

CR (Credit): In a course for which some students receive letter grades, the 'CR' represents performance that is satisfactory or better when the student has elected the 'CR' grading option.

S (Satisfactory): For an activity course or a course in which the instructor elects to grade students only on a satisfactory/no credit basis, the 'S' represents performance that is satisfactory or better. For such a course, no letter grades may be assigned for satisfactorily completed work. It should be noted that the Registrar is unable to record course grades submitted when the instructor has not observed the required distinction between 'S' and 'CR.' The 'satisfactory' options are intended to relieve the pressure on students for achievement in grades. The 'satisfactory' options in no way imply fewer or different course work requirements than those required of students who elect evaluation with a letter grade. A department may limit the number of 'satisfactory' courses to count for a major program.

L: The 'L' is a temporary notation that represents creditable completion of a course for which the student will receive a permanent letter grade before the start of the next quarter. The 'L' is given when the instructor needs additional time to determine the specific grade to be recorded, but it is not appropriate if additional work is expected to be submitted by the student. A student receives unit credit for work graded 'L.'

N (Continuing Course): The 'N' indicates satisfactory progress in a course that has not yet reached completion. Continuation courses need not continue at the same number of units, but the grade for all quarters of such a course must be the same.

N- (Continuing Course): The 'N-' grade indicates unsatisfactory progress in a continuing course. The first 'N-' grade constitutes a warning. The advisor, department chair, and student should discuss the deficiencies and agree on the steps necessary to correct them. A second consecutive 'N-' will normally cause the department to deny the student further registration until a written plan for the completion of the degree requirements has been submitted by the student and accepted by the department. Subsequent 'N-' grades are grounds for dismissal from the program.

I (Incomplete): The 'I' is restricted to cases in which the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the coursework. No credit is given until the course is completed and a passing grade received. When a final grade is received, all reference to the initial 'I' is removed. 'I' grades must be changed to a permanent notation or grade within a maximum of one year. If an incomplete grade is not cleared at the end of one year, it is changed automatically by the Office of the University Registrar to an 'NP' (not passed) or 'NC' (no credit) as appropriate for the grading method of the course. Students must request an incomplete grade by the last class meeting. Faculty may determine whether to grant the request or not. Faculty are free to determine the conditions under which the incomplete is made up, including setting a deadline of less than one year (but not more than one year). A leave of absence* does not stop the clock on the time limit for resolving incompletes. You may complete and submit work toward an incomplete while in discontinued status unless doing so places an undue burden on the instructor, department, staff, or another university resource. You must be in an active status to petition to extend an incomplete and are not permitted to make this request while in a discontinued or conferred status.

* Students on an approved Military Leave of Absence are granted the following exceptions to the Incomplete grade policy:

  1. Based on their last date of attendance, students called away to military service will have the option to either take Incomplete grades in all courses or drop all courses without penalty. If a student requests Incomplete grades in their courses, instructors are required to approve such requests. Whether the student may drop all courses or request Incomplete grades will be determined by the student’s last date of attendance: 

  2. If the student is called to service within weeks 1-8 of the quarter, the student may complete an LOA request form and receive a full tuition refund regardless of attendance.

  3. If the student is called to service within weeks 9-11, the student may take Incompletes in any or all courses; or the student may receive a grade for work completed in the course to date, based on the agreement with each instructor. 

  4. In rare situations, the course requirements may not have been adequately met by weeks 9-11 in order to permit an Incomplete grade assignment. If the student was unable to complete the course requirements by the start of their military service and it is not possible for the student to complete the requirements at a later time, a late drop may be permitted. If the student had not been adequately engaging in the course prior to their leave, the instructor may be permitted to assign a grade of “NP” or “NC.”

  5. For a student completing work for previous incomplete courses, their timeline to complete the work will be extended by the duration of their required military service.

  6. Instructors must set a reasonable timeline for students to complete the work for an incomplete course and may not set a deadline prior to the student’s return from military service. Instructors must allow, at a minimum, a full quarter for the student to complete the work upon their return from military service. Students, in agreement with the professor, must complete the work within 1 year or less after their return from military service to align with the existing Incomplete grade policy. 

  7. Should a student be called away to active duty after the last day of classes and unable to sit for final exams, the requirement to request an Incomplete grade in a course prior to finals week is not in effect.

RP (Repeated Course): The notation 'RP' (meaning Repeated Course) replaces the original grade recorded for a course when a student retakes a course that is not repeatable for credit. See the Repeated Courses policy for more information.

W (Withdraw): The notation 'W' is recorded when a student withdraws from a course.

* (Grade Not Reported): The '' symbol appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar for courses taken prior to 2001-02. The '' symbol remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported (effective through Spring 2008-09).

GNR (Grade Not Reported): The notation 'GNR' appears when no grade has been reported to the Registrar. The 'GNR' notation remains on the transcript until a grade has been reported. (Effective beginning Autumn Quarter 2009-10.)

Contact Information

Academic Records and Enrollment, Office of the University Registrar