Grading System and GPA Calculation

Grades are assigned only by instructors and are reported only by letter grade. Plus and minus grades are not accepted.

The university uses the following grading system:
Grade Grade-points per credit

  • A Excellent 4
  • AB Intermediate 3.5
  • B Good 3
  • BC Intermediate 2.5
  • C Fair 2
  • D Poor 1
  • F Failure 0

The following grades have no associated grade points and are excluded from the graduate Grade Point Average (GPA):

  • S Satisfactory
  • U Unsatisfactory
  • I Incomplete (a temporary grade when work is not completed)
  • P Progress
  • PI Permanent Incomplete
  • DR Dropped
  • W Withdrew
  • CR Credit
  • N No Credit
  • IN Incomplete in Credit/No Credit Course (a temporary grade when work is not completed)
  • M Missing – used for audited courses
  • NR No Report (a temporary grade for a graded course when a final grade has not been submitted by the instructor; a final grade for an audited course when the student did not meet the instructor’s minimum standards)
  • NW No Work – used for non-attendance in a course
  • Q Question on Credits

GPA Calculation

  • To calculate graduate GPA:
    • Refer to the list above to find the grade-point value of each letter grade on your transcript.
    • Multiply the grade-point value by the number of credits for the course. For example, a three (3) credit AB would be calculated as:
      3.5 grade-points for an AB
      × 3 credits
      10.5 grade-points
    • Continue this calculation for every course numbered 300 and above that you took as a graduate student. Do include independent study courses and seminars. Do not include research courses; each department determines course numbers for their research courses. Do not include courses taken as a University Special student. Add the total number of grade points earned and the total number of credits earned.
    • Divide the total number of grade points by the total number of credits.
      215 grade-points
      ÷ 60 credits
      3.58 GPA
    • This final figure is your graduate GPA.

The UW–Madison Cross College Advising Service GPA Calculator may be a useful tool.