Grading System

A single grading system is used in all courses at the GSD. The grade of "Pass" is the standard mark for recognizing satisfactory work. "Distinction" and "High Pass" are reserved for work of clearly exceptional merit. "Low Pass" indicates a performance that, although deficient in some respects, meets minimal course standards. "Satisfactory" is used to indicate that the doctoral thesis is in progress. "Withdrawal" is assigned for courses dropped after the add/drop deadline. "Fail" is reserved for work that is unsatisfactory, and a student receives no credit for that course. "Incomplete" indicates incomplete course work and is only granted for medical reasons. A Petition for an Incomplete must be submitted to the registrar's office prior to the last class meeting of the course. Receipt of an excessive number of incompletes, low passes, or failures may result in action under the policy on Satisfactory Progress and Termination (see below). The GSD does not use a grade-point average or rank-in class system. Non-GSD students who cross-register into a GSD course are evaluated on the same grading system as are GSD students. Cross-registered courses will have a different grading system so check out information about Cross-Registration or the university-wide cross-registration web site. Information on grade changes, appeals and incompletes can be directed to the Instructor and if necessary, the Registrar.

Satisfactory Progress and Termination.
The following conditions must be met in order for students to be considered as making satisfactory progress:

  1. Continuous full-time enrollment (except for approved part-time status and leaves of absence)
  2. Completion of the degree requirements of their program within two terms beyond the prescribed number of terms for that program (plus extensions due to approved part-time status and leaves of absence)
  3. Achievement of a satisfactory grade record. A grade record is considered to be satisfactory until deficiency units are accumulated to the extent that the student has reached the dismissal threshold.

Deficiency units are calculated as follows:

• One unit failure = one deficiency unit

• One unit incomplete (past deadline) = one deficiency unit

• One unit low pass = one-half deficiency unit (for example, deficiency units for a grade of low pass in an 8-unit course are calculated as follows: 8 units x 0.5 = 4 deficiency units). For courses taken outside the GSD, passing grades below “B” or “satisfactory” will be considered equivalent to a low pass.

The following are numbers of deficiency units in each degree program that, upon accumulation, will put a student at the warning or dismissal threshold:

Semester Completed Warning Threshold (Deficiency Units) Dismissal Threshold (Deficiency Units)
1, 2
3, 4
5 or more

*Semesters are counted as completed in accordance with the specific requirements for award of degree for each program.

Doctor of Design students must satisfactorily complete 32 units of course work and pass a general examination based on an approved thesis proposal before the beginning of the third semester of study. Failure to do so will initiate termination procedures.

In the case of a student who has not maintained satisfactory progress, the department or ASP faculty will review the situation at the beginning of the semester following that in which the dismissal threshold was reached. The student is given an opportunity to provide any pertinent information. Unless the department or ASP faculty votes by a majority to halt the dismissal process, the case will automatically be referred to the full Faculty of Design. The possession of deficiency units at the dismissal threshold will normally result in a faculty action to dismiss the student. No student shall be dismissed except by a vote of at least two-thirds of the voting members of the faculty present and voting thereon. A student may withdraw voluntarily at any time prior to the vote of the full faculty. The decision of the faculty will be final. The transcript will note the dismissal or withdrawal. While a student dismissed for academic reasons is eligible to reapply for admission to the GSD at a later date, the application is unlikely to be approved.

Refer to the DDes manual for additional procedures and information specific to DDES students.

Resources: Registrar: Grading: Grades

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