Graduate School Handbook

Grading System (from Chapter 15 of the Louisiana Tech University Catalog)

Official grades are maintained in the University Registrar's Office. Louisiana Tech applies a traditional system of grading and awards quality points for grades earned. The University's grading system is as follows:

Grading System
Grade Number of Quality Points
A 4 quality points per semester hour
B 3 quality points per semester hour
C 2 quality points per semester hour
D 1 quality points per semester hour
F 0 quality points per semester hour
I Incomplete (see explanation below)
S Satisfactory (see explanation below)
W Withdrew (see explanation below)
NC No Credit (see explanation below)

Faculty members in the history department generally understand grading at the graduate level in the following way:

  • A is for work that would be acceptable for PhD work at major research universities in the region;
  • B is for work that is acceptable at the master's level, but would not be satisfactory in a PhD program;
  • C is for work that is unacceptable at the master's level, but nevertheless will be counted toward the degree to a maximum of 6 semester hours;
  • D and below is unacceptable and will not count toward the degree.

The grade I (Incomplete) is used to denote failure to complete all assigned class work and/or exams as a result of conditions beyond the student's control. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate a request with the instructor that a grade of I be issued. If the student's work is of passing quality, the instructor may approve the student's request and will assign a grade of I plus the average letter grade on all work completed to that point (e.g. IA, IB, IC, or ID). A grade of IF cannot be issued. If the instructor agrees to issue an I, he/she will complete a standard contract with the student detailing requirements for course completion and specifying the date those requirements must be finished. Instructors then provide a copy of the contract to the student and a copy to the department head/director. Students will receive a grade of IA, IB, IC, or ID for that quarter. Incompletes are factored into hours attempted and quality points awarded. Therefore, they impact a student's quarter and cumulative grade point averages and are a factor in academic probation or suspension decisions.

The maximum amount of time allowed for a student to finish incomplete work is Friday of the fourth week in the following quarter, with one exception: students receiving an I in the Spring Quarter have until Friday of the fourth week in the following Fall Quarter to complete their work. A reminder of this date is published in the academic calendar each quarter and can also be found on the academic calendar at Tech's web site (www.latech.edu).

If the student does not complete the required work within the contracted period, the instructor will change the I to an F by delivering a final grade change to the Registrar's Office by Friday of the fifth week of the quarter. The final grade replaces the I on the student's permanent record (transcript); attempted hours, earned hours, quality points, and quarter/cumulative grade point averages are recalculated applying the final grade. A student may be placed on or removed from academic probation or suspension based on the recalculated GPA at the time an I grade is cleared. I grades are cleared only by completing the required course work, and not by registering for the course again.

Note: Students registered for approved research, practicum, dissertation, or thesis courses requiring multiple quarters of the same course registration to complete the research receive an I-A, -B, -C, or -D (or an I-S in the case of Satisfactory/Failure graded courses) for each attempt until the research or practicum is accepted as complete by the advising faculty member. At that time, the graduate student's I grades are changed to the appropriate A, B, C, D, F, or S on his/her permanent record.

A grade of S indicates satisfactory completion of a course. The S grade increases hours earned but does not affect hours attempted or quality points and is not computed in any grade point average (GPA). Students registered for a course where the grade of S is used who do not complete the required course work will receive the grade F.

A W is issued when a student withdraws from a class (drops a class) after the final date for registration has passed and before the end of the first seven weeks of a quarter. The W grade will appear on the student's permanent record (transcript), but is not included in computing the student's GPA. Students who stop attending class(es) without following proper drop/withdraw or resignation procedures (walk-away) will receive an F grade for each class affected.

The grade NC (used for undergraduate developmental courses and credit exams) denotes no credit earned or hours charged and is not computed in any GPA calculation.

Calculating Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Quarterly GPA

A student's quarterly grade point average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the sum of the quality points earned for the quarter by the number of semester hours attempted that quarter.

The Cumulative GPA

The cumulative GPA is determined by dividing the total quality points earned by the total number of hours attempted. For graduate students, the cumulative GPA is the benchmark figure used to determine continued graduate academic eligibility, graduate academic probation, and removal from graduate status. Quarterly and cumulative GPAs are recorded on the student's permanent academic record (transcript) and reported each quarter with their grades.

Grade Reporting

Students can obtain their grades online thru the Bulldog Online Student System (BOSS) following the completion of each quarter. Specific instructions for access are published quarterly in the Schedule of Classes, on the Tech web site, www.latech.edu, and reminders provided by the University Registrar's Office during early registration. Students needing a copy of their grades after the reporting period may obtain them online thru BOSS by requesting an unofficial transcript, or specific letters of verification.

Final Grade Appeals Procedure

A final grade in a course represents the cumulative evaluation and judgment of the faculty member placed in charge of that course. If a student feels the final grade in a course was not determined in accordance with University policies or was determined arbitrarily, the student may appeal by adhering to the following procedure:

  • Confer with the faculty member, setting forth clearly all points of concern. If unsatisfied with the results of the conference, proceed to the next step.
  • Confer with the head of the department in which the course is taught, setting forth clearly all points of concern. If the student remains unsatisfied, proceed to the next step.
  • Write a letter of appeal to the dean of the college in which the course is taught. The dean will send copies of the letter to the faculty member and department head. This letter must be received by the dean within the first 10 regularly scheduled class meeting days of the term immediately following the term in which the appealed grade was received; and, an accurate and complete statement of all facts pertaining to the matter. Falsification may result in disciplinary action.

The dean may make a decision, which would be final in the matter, or refer the appeal to the college's Committee on Standards for review and recommendation. The committee's report would be a recommendation to the dean, whose decision would be final. In reviewing the appeals, both the dean and committee would have broad latitude in their procedures and recommendations. They might, for example, request additional information privately from those involved. Or they might choose to invite specified persons, including the student and faculty member, to a meeting to discuss the matter. Whatever their approach, it should take appropriate account of the interests of both the student and faculty member.

In all cases the dean shall communicate the final decision to the student, faculty member, department head, and, if a grade change is involved, to the University Registrar. In appeals where the dean initially makes the decision, the decision should normally be communicated to the student within 10 class days after the appeal deadline. When appeals are referred to the committee, the final decision should normally be communicated to the student by the dean within 20 class days after the appeal deadline.

Note: In the case where a faculty member invokes a grade penalty on a student because of academic misconduct, the faculty member will report the incident and penalty to his/her Department Head and to the Office of Student Life. If the student chooses to appeal the sanction, the student will follow the procedures contained in the Academic Honor Code (Section Eight: Appeals) paragraphs of Chapter 4 of this catalog.

Graduate Status Appeals Procedure

Recognizing the unique attributes of graduate study, Louisiana Tech University has adopted policies pertaining to the appeal process for issues faced by graduate students. The following policy will be followed by graduate students wishing to appeal decisions related to their status as graduate students or their progress in graduate programs.

  • Form: Graduate student appeals must be presented in writing to appropriate University personnel, as described below. Appeals shall detail the issue to be addressed and a proposed solution to students' appeals.
  • Timeliness: A student must initiate a college-level appeal of a decision affecting his or her graduate status within 2 calendar weeks of the decision being communicated to the student. Each subsequent appeal (to the Graduate Council, Vice-President of Academic affairs, and President) must be made within 2 calendar weeks of the student being advised of the previous level appeal decision.
  • Levels of Appeal: An appeal must first be made to the Graduate Director of the college in which the student is enrolled. The college decision may be appealed to the University Graduate Council, which will make a decision at a scheduled meeting or by email poll vote. If a majority of the Council cannot be contacted for a poll vote, the Dean of the Graduate School may make a decision. A student may appeal the decision of the Graduate Council to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. A decision of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs may be appealed to the President of Louisiana Tech University.

Grade Requirement

To receive a graduate degree from Louisiana Tech University, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on all work pursued for graduate credit while registered at Louisiana Tech, as listed on the student's transcript, and a GPA of at least 3.0 on all graduate courses listed on the student's approved plan of study. No grade lower than C and no more than two C's will count toward a graduate degree. If more than two grades of C or below are earned during a student's graduate program and the cumulative GPA is below the 3.0 required, a student will be dropped from graduate status to post-baccalaureate status.

A graduate student unconditionally admitted to a graduate degree or graduate non-degree program (other than extension programs) will be placed on graduate academic probation if his/her quarterly or cumulative GPA, as listed on the student's graduate transcript, drops below 3.0 on all work pursued for graduate credit. The student will be allowed two additional quarters (3 consecutive quarters total) to regain his/her good standing in graduate status by restoring his/her graduate cumulative GPA above the 3.0 minimum and providing he/she earns grades no lower than a B while on academic probation. A student will be dropped from graduate status to post-baccalaureate status if he/she does not fulfill the requirements to be restored from graduate academic probation to unconditional graduate status during the 3 consecutive quarters. The student will be required to appeal his/her dismissal from the graduate program through the appropriate individual(s) in his/her college to the Graduate Council to be reinstated to graduate status.

A graduate student conditionally admitted to a graduate degree or graduate non-degree program is not eligible for graduate academic probation and therefore must maintain a 3.0 graduate average while completing the conditions of his/her graduate admission. Failure to achieve a quarterly and cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 or better will result in the student being dropped from graduate status to post-baccalaureate status. The student will be required to appeal his/her dismissal from the graduate program through the appropriate individual(s) in his/her college to the Graduate Council to be reinstated to graduate status.

Student Loads

The maximum graduate credit course load for a graduate student is 12 semester hours in a regular session. Not more than 9 hours of this total may be 500-and 600-level courses which will include, in master's programs, research and thesis and/or special non-lecture courses, except with the permission of the student's director of graduate studies. Students who hold full-time assistantships in a regular session will be required to reduce the maximum load by 3 hours. In addition, the appropriate department may require further load reductions. For sessions shorter than 1 quarter, the maximum load will be 1 hour of graduate credit for each week of the session.

6 graduate semester hours are considered full-time for a graduate student, and 3 graduate semester hours are half-time status. A student receiving an assistantship must be qualified as a full-time graduate student. A graduate degree candidate may carry only the courses required for graduation at the end of the quarter and still be considered a full-time student.