Grades and Course Credits

University Policy

Questrom School of Business Policy


The following variations from the University’s grading symbols have been approved by Questrom School of Business.

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade (I) is used only when the student must miss the final exam or final assignment due to a family or medical emergency. The student must confer with the instructor prior to the submission of grades and establish acceptable reasons for the incomplete work. The instructor must submit an Incomplete Grade Report to the Questrom Registrar’s Office that includes the reason for the “I” grade, the nature of the work to be completed, and the deadline for completion (if different from the default deadline). If the work to be completed is not received by the instructor by the last day of instruction in the following semester, then the “I” grade is permanently changed to an “F” grade. All “I” grades in Questrom courses must be resolved before graduation.

Grade Grievances

A student who believes their work has not been evaluated fairly in a Questrom course should first consult the faculty member of the course in question. If the student and the instructor are unable to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution, a formal grade grievance may be filed in accordance with University policy.

Pass/Fail Grades

To encourage intellectual exploration, Boston University permits students to elect up to 8 credits of academic coursework on a P/F basis to satisfy requirements for the bachelor’s degree. In general, students enrolled in the Questrom undergraduate program may complete courses Pass/Fail in the following categories: 1) the non-management elective requirement, and 2) the free-electives requirement. Students must work with their advisor to ensure they understand the implications of taking a course Pass/Fail. For additional information, please see the Policy on Pass/Fail Courses for Undergraduate Students.

The following courses are only graded on a Pass/Fail basis: QST ES 110, ES 210, ES 215, ES 310, and SM 395.

Repeating Courses

Students repeating a course can receive credit toward a degree requirement only once. The grade received for a repeated course does not replace the grade for the original course; both grades are computed in the student’s cumulative grade point average. For additional information, please see the Policy on Repeated Courses for Undergraduate Students.

“D” Grades

Students must successfully have earned a minimum grade of “C” in five of the following courses, and no less than “C–” in the sixth course, in order to apply these courses toward their BSBA major and advance into 300-level Questrom courses:

  • CAS MA 121 or MA 123 (4 cr)
  • QST SM 131 (4 cr)
  • QST SM 132 (2 cr)
  • CAS EC 101 (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 102 (4 cr)
  • BU Hub First-Year Writing Seminar (4 cr)

For all other Questrom courses applied toward the major, including courses toward any declared concentration, students must earn a grade of “C–” or higher.

For the remainder of their coursework, students follow the University policy on D grades.

Cumulative Grade Point Average

A student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) is based only on grades earned while the student is enrolled at Boston University. The cumulative average includes grades earned in all Boston University academic courses.


Most credit courses at Questrom School of Business are graded on a letter scale according to the following criteria:



Honor Points per Credit

Superior Performance A 4.0
A– 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B– 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
Lowest Grade Acceptable for Credit C– 1.7
Failing Grade F 0.0

Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) Grading: Given the unique program design, student grading categories are Pass and Fail. The strong peer-to-peer and challenge-focused learning process requires the full engagement of students and faculty in the learning process, so a Pass/Fail approach is both necessary and appropriate.

Policy on Grade Grievances for Graduate Students in Boston University Questrom School of Business

Grading is the prerogative of the faculty and is based upon a student’s performance against a clearly articulated set of assignments, expectations, and standards.

Arbitrary grades are defined as those:

  • assigned to a student on some basis other than performance in the course; or,
  • assigned to a student by resorting to unreasonable standards different from those which were applied to other students in that course or section of the course; or,
  • assigned to a student on the basis of criteria that are a substantial, unreasonable, and unannounced departure from the instructor’s previously articulated standards.

Issues that do not meet one or more of these criteria of arbitrariness are not appropriate bases for a grade appeal under this policy. Only final course grades may be formally appealed. Grades that are the result of academic misconduct are not appealable. All grievances must be made in a timely manner within six weeks of the official posting of the grade.

Before filing a formal appeal, a student is urged to resolve any grievance informally by meeting with the instructor responsible for the grading of the course to discuss the student’s concerns. The student is responsible for bringing copies of the following information to the meeting: course syllabus, assignment sheet, and graded work. The student should be prepared to show evidence of arbitrary grading. The instructor is expected to discuss the student’s concerns and to explain the basis for determining the grade.

If the student and the instructor are unable to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution, the student may file a formal appeal with the department chair of the instructor. The written appeal must detail the basis for the allegation of arbitrary grading and present adequate evidence that supports the allegation. The chair may seek to informally resolve the matter between the instructor and student or determine a resolution after review of all materials.

If the student wishes to appeal the chair’s decision, they may do so to the faculty director of the student’s degree program. Finally, the student may appeal the chair and faculty director’s decision to the dean, who will render a final decision.

Incomplete: “I”

A grade of “I” indicates that course requirements, such as a final exam or written coursework, have not been completed by the end of the semester. An “I” grade is given at the instructor’s discretion. The student must arrange with the instructor to complete the remaining requirements no later than the end of the following semester by completing an Incomplete contract with the instructor. When the work is completed, the instructor will determine the final grade. Note that cohorted students who receive an “I” in a core class (excluding MG 730) cannot continue to be cohorted the following semester, unless the “I” is resolved before the start of the next semester.

If work is not completed and a final grade is not submitted within one full academic semester of when the “I” was issued, the “I” will be converted into an “F” grade. In extenuating circumstances, a student may petition for an extension of the time limit to complete the work. The instructor who gave the “I” grade must endorse the written petition, which must then be submitted to the MBA Center or Master’s & PhD Center, as appropriate.

An “I” grade has no honor points; therefore, it is not calculated into the cumulative GPA (CGPA). When the professor reassigns the grade once the student completes the work, or when the Graduate Programs Assistant Registrar converts the “I” to an “F” following the procedures outlined above, the grade for the course is then included in the calculation of the GPA. Students may not graduate with an “I” grade on their transcript for courses counting toward their degree requirements.

Course Withdrawal: “W”

A grade of “W” in a course indicates that the course was dropped after the semester deadline to drop a class without a “W.” A student who withdraws from a course forfeits the right to complete the course in that semester and to receive a grade.

Students are charged full tuition for “W” grades.

Course Failure: “F”

A grade of “F” indicates failure to pass the course. A student who earns a grade of “F” in a core course must repeat that course with a passing grade. A student who earns a grade of “F” in an elective course must subsequently repeat that course or take another elective and earn a passing grade. When a course is repeated, both the “F” and the subsequent grade remain on the student’s permanent record, and both grades are included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Note that cohorted students who receive an “F” in a core class cannot be cohorted the following semester.

Retaking Courses

Graduate students cannot retake a Questrom course that has been successfully completed in order to improve their grade performance and/or CGPA. Graduate students also cannot audit a class first and then retake it for credit. Courses in which a grade of “F” or “W” have been received can be retaken, because “F” and “W” grades cannot be used to satisfy any graduate degree requirements. MBA and dual degree students can also retake non-Questrom graduate electives at Boston University in which they have received a grade below “B” because only non-Questrom electives with grades of B or higher can be used to satisfy MBA or dual degree requirements.

Grading Guidelines

Questrom School of Business has the following school-wide voluntary grading guidelines for MBA core courses:

  • No more than 40% of the grades in a given MBA required course should be in the A or A– range.
  • Grades in the C+, C, or C– range are legitimate passing grades, and they should be used in the case of very low performing students.

Questrom School of Business has the following school-wide voluntary grading guideline for MBA electives:

  • No more than 50% of the grades in a given MBA elective course should be in the A or A– range.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

All graded graduate-level courses taken at Boston University Questrom School of Business to fulfill the MBA or MSDT requirements are included in the computation of the CGPA. Grades are computed on a 4.00 scale. The grade of Pass does not count toward the GPA, but the grade of “F” does count in the GPA. Coursework taken outside Boston University Questrom School of Business will not be calculated into the student’s CGPA. If a student drops from the MSDT portion of the dual degree program, all MSDT courses taken would count toward the student’s MBA CGPA.

Calculating CGPA for single and dual degree MBA students (excluding MBA + MSDT)

Dual degree students (excluding MBA + MSDT) will have cumulative grade point averages calculated separately for each degree. MBA + MSDT students will have one combined CGPA, which includes all Questrom coursework. In order to calculate CGPA, divide the number of grade points earned in Questrom courses by the number of Questrom credits attempted (do not include “W” or “P” grades). The grades and credits of all repeated courses are calculated in the GPA. The following grade symbols are not given honor points, and work recorded with any of these symbols is not used in the calculation of grade point averages: AU, P, W and MG. “I” grades are not computed until all required work is completed and an appropriate letter grade assigned.

(Honor points for grade) x (credits in course) = Honor Points in Course

(Total honor points from all Questrom courses) ÷ (total Questrom credits attempted) = Cumulative GPA

Grade Verification

Federal law prohibits staff members from giving grades over the phone. Students may receive an unofficial or official copy of their grades/transcript by logging on to the Boston University Student Link (click on “Academics,” then on “Transcript Preview and Ordering”).