Credit and Grading System

At the end of each semester or session, a student’s grade and credit in semester-hours for each course taken is recorded on the transcript and the grade report, accessible through the MySanDiego portal. Each course is recorded with one of the following grades: A, superior; B, very good; C, average; D, inferior; F, failure; P, credit awarded, but units do not enter into computation of grade point average; W, withdrawal; I, incomplete.

Professors may not change final grades unless there is a computational error.

Transfer of Credit

The following principles apply to transfer of undergraduate credit to the university:

  1. Credit must be from an accredited, USD-approved university. However, students should note that USD has full discretion concerning which credits are applicable to its curricula and are therefore transferable.
  2. Credit must be at the undergraduate level at the university of origin. The student is responsible for submitting acceptable supporting documentation.
  3. Transfer courses cannot repeat essentially the same content of work taken at USD, except in the cases where a grade of D or F was received in the USD course.
  4. A grade of “C-” or higher must have been earned (grade of “pass” or “satisfactory” ordinarily is not acceptable).
  5. All courses transferred to USD are transferred for unit credit only and are not calculated into the GPA.
  6. The number of credit hours transferred will be based on USD’s semester credit system (multiply the number of quarter hours by 2⁄3). For example, 4 quarter-hours x 2⁄3 = 2.67. It is the student’s responsibility to make up the difference if the total number of degree credits falls short of the requirement for the degree. The amount of USD credit awarded may not exceed the equivalent amount on the originating transcript.

Quarter Hours Converted to Semester:

1 quarter unit 0.67 semester units
2 quarter unit 1.33 semester units
3 quarter unit 2.00 semester units
4 quarter unit 2.67 semester units
5 quarter unit 3.33 semester units
6 quarter unit 4.00 semester units


Students also should be aware that the core curriculum requirement in human values may be affected by the number of credits transferred at entry to USD. For example, a student entering USD at junior standing (60-90 units) needs only two theology and religious studies classes after entrance. A student entering at 90 credits or over need take one (upper division) theology and religious studies class and one (upper division) philosophy ethics course after entrance.

Procedure for Transfer of Credit

Students of the university who wish to take courses at other institutions should obtain advance written approval on a Petition to Transfer Credit form, which can be found online at Office of the Registrar. The student will get the signature of their advisor, the department chair in the comparable department in which the course is being taken, and the dean if they expect such courses to be accepted in fulfillment of degree requirements at USD. Coursework taken at another university after a student leaves USD is not posted to the official transcript unless the student is readmitted to the university.

Policy for International Studies Abroad

The University of San Diego recognizes full academic credit toward an undergraduate degree for students choosing to participate in an international experience when the chosen program is directly affiliated with USD and approved by the International Studies Abroad Committee. Students who wish to take courses in unaffiliated international programs and receive academic credit must obtain advance written approval, for sound academic reasons, at the discretion of their Academic Dean in concert with the Office of International Affairs. USD transfer of credit policies will apply for any such approved course. No academic credit will be transferred without advance written approval as described above. This policy applies to all programs: short-term, semester-long, and year-long programs.

Repetition of Courses

Only courses for which grades D or F were received may be repeated for credit. Only one repetition is permitted unless authorized in writing by the dean. On course repetitions, the units are applied toward a degree only once, but the grade assigned at each enrollment shall be permanently recorded. A course in which grades D or F were assigned may not be repeated on a pass/fail basis.

In computing the grade point average of an undergraduate student who repeats courses in which a D or F was received, only the most recently earned grades and grade points shall be used for the first 10 units repeated. When courses are repeated by transfer work, the lower grade will be removed from the USD grade point average and credit for the course will be given without grade points. In the case of further repetitions, the grade point average shall be based on all grades assigned and total units attempted. The student should notify the registrar when a course is repeated so that adjustment of the cumulative grade point average, if necessary, may be done promptly.

Duplication of Credit

Each of the academic courses counted toward the 124 units required for graduation must represent an increment in the student’s knowledge. Consequently, courses which duplicate previous work, either in high school (for example, foreign language) or in college, cannot be counted toward graduation, nor can elementary courses which are prerequisite to advanced courses if they are taken concurrently with or after the more advanced work.

Experiential Education Credit

A maximum of 6 units of combined practicum, field experience and/or internship taken within the College of Arts and Sciences can be applied to the 124 unit degree requirement, 48 unit upper division requirement, and/or Upper-Division Requirements in the student’s major. Only students eligible for upper division credit (second semester sophomore standing) will be allowed to register in these courses. The university neither gives nor accepts transfer credit for prior experiential learning. Other restrictions (that is, junior and/or senior standing) are at the discretion of the department.

Pass/Fail Option

Students in good academic standing, that is, with a grade point average of 2.0 at USD, may elect to enroll for courses on the pass/fail plan. All students who wish to exercise the pass/fail option must have prior authorization from their advisor. Courses taken at other institutions and transferred to USD for unit credit only are not considered to fall under the pass/fail option. Note the deadline announced in the academic calendar for changing a course to the pass/fail option or vice-versa. No changes will be made after this date. The following regulations apply:

  1. Lower-Division Students must have successfully completed at least 12 units at this university.
  2. If the course is part of a regular semester, the student must be enrolled in at least 9 other units on a regular grading basis.
  3. Students may take no more than one course per academic term and no more than two courses per academic year on a pass/fail basis. (Courses offered exclusively on a pass/fail basis for all students are not counted in arriving at the limit.).
  4. Major courses (and major prerequisites) are excluded. Courses used in fulfillment of core curriculum requirements must be taken for a grade. Once a student has fulfilled a core curriculum requirement, then additional courses in the same area may be taken pass/fail.
  5. Courses required for any state teaching credential are excluded.
  6. Certain advanced or highly specialized courses may be excluded by departments acting in concert.
  7. Research and reading courses, performance and independent study courses, and courses not lending themselves to specific grading practices may, by determination of the faculty, be included.
  8. All courses designated as “activity” courses may be pass/fail (at faculty determination, not students).
  9. There will be no change from pass/fail to grade or vice-versa after the deadline listed in the academic calendar.
  10. The course, quiz, paper, examination, and attendance requirements for pass/fail students will be the same as for students receiving a letter grade.
  11. Pass requires a grade of C– grade or better.
  12. Pass does not affect grade point average; Fail does affect grade point average.
  13. A course taken on a pass/fail basis may only be repeated as a pass/fail course.
  14. A course in which a grade of D or F is received may not be repeated on pass/fail basis, but may be repeated for a grade.
  15. For first honors or second honors consideration, 12 semester units must be earned in fall or spring semesters in which traditional grades are issued.
  16. A student wishing to major in a field in which he or she previously earned pass/fail credit may, with departmental permission, select another course to fulfill the requirement.
  17. A maximum of 15 pass/fail units at USD is applicable to the fulfillment of degree requirements. However, in the Electrical Engineering (EE), Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME) majors, pass/fail is not permitted in any required (by title) course.

Grade Grievance Procedures

The instructor’s/professor’s judgment is presumed to be correct. Therefore, the burden of qualifying a grievance rests with the student. Thus, at every level in the proposed grievance procedures this “presumption” should be understood by all participants.

It is assumed that grievances will be resolved by the instructor and student.

Grading criteria, requirements, content, etc. are established by the instructor. The presumption is that students have been given ample opportunity for clarification of class requirements at the beginning of a given course.

The procedure for a grade grievance is as follows:

  1. Initial grade/grievance must be addressed to the instructor in the course.
  2. In those rare circumstances when no agreement is reached in number 1 (above), the student may seek advice from the department chair.
  3. If the matter is not satisfactorily settled at number 2 (above), the student then may seek advice from the dean who will refer the matter to a standing faculty committee (e.g. academic affairs).
  4. The committee will hear the student’s grievance and make its recommendations to the parties involved. At every level in this grievance procedure, the instructor must be apprised of the situation.

Credit by Examination

A number of the Subject Examinations of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) have received approval by the university faculty, so that in certain specified subjects students may qualify for college credit by satisfactory performance in the CLEP tests. Inquiries may be made at the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Founders Hall, Room 114 or go to: Exam Credits.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average is computed by first multiplying the number of units for each course under consideration by the number of grade points assigned to the grade received for the course; the total number of grade points earned in the period is then divided by the total number of applicable units attempted. Grade points and attempted credit units for courses with a grade of Incomplete or I (unless the deadline for completion has passed), Pass, or W are not included in the GPA calculation.

Grade points are assigned as follows:

A 4.0
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.0
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- .67
F 0.00

Grade of Incomplete

The grade of Incomplete (I) may be recorded to indicate:

  • that the requirements of a course have been substantially completed, but, for a legitimate reason, a small fraction of the work remains to be completed;
  • that the record of the student in the course justifies the expectation that he or she will complete the work and obtain a passing grade by the deadline.

It is the student’s responsibility to explain to the instructor the reasons for non-completion of the work and to request an incomplete grade prior to the posting of final grades. The incomplete grade is not counted in the computation of the grade point average, nor is credit earned for the semester or session for which the grade was authorized.

The instructor should discuss with the student the conditions and deadline for completion, whenever possible. In addition, the instructor must document the conditions and deadline using the Petition for Grade of Incomplete. The form must be signed by the dean of the appropriate school or college and submitted to the Registrar’s Office at the time final grades are submitted. Students who receive a grade of incomplete must submit all missing work no later than the end of the tenth week of the next regular semester; otherwise, the I grade will be counted as an F. This applies only to regular class work.

Students receiving financial aid should be aware that taking an incomplete grade may affect their eligibility for financial aid by their failure to earn the appropriate amount of credit within a year.

Grade Reports

Grade reports are available on the MySanDiego portal in the Torero Hub tab – My Academics page. Students must have a USD e-mail account to access MySanDiego portal.