General Academic Policies

System of Grading


Quality Points























System of Grading






No credit










No Report






Pass with Distinction



Quality points are the numerical equivalent of letter grades. A grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the number of quality points earned by the number of semester credits attempted (only those graded A-F). The GPA is used to determine academic standing, eligibility to participate in certain curricular and cocurricular programs, academic honors, and academic standing, which may include probation, jeopardy of dismissal, or dismissal. A minimum GPA of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students is required for graduation. Some programs require a GPA in excess of the minimum to satisfy major requirements.

Credit at the graduate student level will be awarded for grades of C (2.0) or better. This includes all graduate coursework and core, background, and foundation courses. Grades below C will be calculated in a student’s GPA, but the credits will not count toward the degree.

Incomplete Grade

The grade of I, Incomplete, indicates that a student was doing satisfactory work, but due to non-academic reasons beyond the student’s control, the student was unable to complete the remaining requirements of the course.  A student cannot graduate with an Incomplete on their record. The grade of Incomplete is only appropriate when all of the following conditions are met: (a) the student is doing satisfactory work in the course and the unfinished requirements can be clearly delineated, (b) the unfinished requirements constitute a relatively small part of the course, and the Incomplete is requested in the last 20% of the semester, (c) the student has justifiable reason(s) why the work cannot be completed by the end of the semester.

An Incomplete grade form must be submitted to the department chair and to the department chair and to the Dean’s Office. A student is expected to complete course requirements according to the following schedule:  fall semester Incompletes, end of winter semester; winter and spring/summer Incompletes, end of fall semester. Instructors are required to file a change of grade form or request an extension of the I grade at the end of each semester. An extension may be granted by the instructor under exceptional circumstances, such as illness or call to military service.

The Registrar’s office will notify the student, the instructor, and the appropriate Dean’s office six weeks prior to deadline for a grade change. If the instructor is not available during the process for removing the Incomplete, the unit head shall decide on how to proceed. A student for which the Incomplete course was a prerequisite may take a subsequent course only if the instructor of the course and the instructor who granted the Incomplete both grant permission.

Deferred Grade

The grade of X (deferred) is a temporary grade that may be given only in a course that cannot be completed in one semester. Such courses are usually research projects. This grade is given only for work that is satisfactory in every respect but for which students need more than one semester to complete. An X grade must be removed within two calendar years from the date of assignment. If not, it will be changed to NC.

Credit/No Credit Grade

All coursework will be graded (A-F) unless the appropriate faculty body within a college, the dean of the college, and the Curriculum Committee have approved proposals on an individual course basis that the course be conducted on a credit/no credit basis.

Undergraduate students may elect certain undergraduate coursework on a credit/no credit basis. A maximum of 10 semester hours of major, minor, or cognate courses within the major may be taken on a credit/no credit basis only with the consent of the student’s major department. A maximum of 25 percent of a student’s hours of Grand Valley courses earned to fulfill graduation requirements may be taken on a credit/no credit basis (credit = C or above for undergraduate courses, credit = B or above for graduate courses). Courses that are graded CR/NC as the standard grading scheme (e.g., internships) do not count in the maximums stated above. Consent is unnecessary if the course is an elective, a general education course, or a degree cognate/core requirement. Changes from a grade to credit/no credit and vice versa will not be allowed after the first week of the semester.

Thesis and Dissertation Grades

The grades P (Pass), PD (Pass with Distinction), W (Withdrawal) and NC (No Credit) are the only grades that may be assigned as the final grade for a graduate thesis or dissertation. The Withdrawal grade is available only for students that wish to voluntarily and permanently terminate their degree program. The Pass with Distinction grade may only be awarded for a thesis or dissertation that is exceptional in its significance and presentation, unanimously approved by the thesis or dissertation committee, and, unanimously recommended by the thesis or dissertation committee for the Pass with Distinction grade.

Research Grade

The grade of R (Research) is the only grade that may be assigned each semester to a continuous enrollment course for a graduate thesis or dissertation (xxx-696, xxx-796). The R grade is permanent and not affected by the final grade assigned to the thesis or dissertation.

Repeat Course Policy

A student may repeat any course one time. When repeating a course, the grade earned shall be the grade of record but the grades of all courses attempted will remain on a student’s official transcript.

Students who repeat a course will have only the grade and credit of the  most recent instance of the course counted toward their GPA and earned hours, regardless of whether most recent grade is lower or  higher. Grades of I, W, AU, CR, or NC do not replace an earlier grade.

Repeating a course more than once is allowed only with the approval of the student’s academic advisor. In cases when the course is not in the student’s academic advisor’s unit, approval to repeat the course must be approved by the appropriate unit head of the department where the course is offered. Please note: many undergraduate secondary admission programs and postgraduate professional programs routinely recalculate students’ undergraduate GPAs to include repeated coursework. The inclusion of repeated grades may lower your overall GPA when applying to such programs. Students should consult with prospective programs regarding their policies before applying.

For additional information regarding changes in federal regulations and impacts on financial aid for repeating courses, please click on the Important Policies section on the Financial Aid website.

Course Repeat Appeal Process

If an advisor for undergraduate students/programs declines a student’s request to repeat a course more than once, the student may appeal the decision by putting the request and the rationale for the request in writing and submitting both to the unit head of the program in which the course is located. If the unit head declines the appeal, or is the original decision maker, the student may then submit the appeal to the dean of the college in which the course is located.

Auditing a Course

Any student may register to take a course on an audit or noncredit basis, provided admission and course prerequisites have been met. Students who wish to audit a course must indicate their intent to the Registrar’s Office during the first five class days of the semester. Changes from credit to audit and vice versa will not be allowed after the first week of the semester. Tuition costs for auditing are the same as for credit.

Withdrawal from Grand Valley State University

Students withdrawing from Grand Valley during an academic term must obtain a complete withdrawal form from the Registrar’s Office and, if applicable, have it signed by the director of the Student Academic Success Center. The completed form must be returned to the Registrar's Office. Any refunds will be based on the date the completed form is filed with the Registrar’s Office.

Graduate students must follow the Graduate Academic Policy on Course Withdrawals.

Students in good standing who wish to return to Grand Valley after an absence of two or more semesters must submit a Petition to Return form to the Registrar's Office prior to registration. Forms can be obtained from the Office of Admissions or the Registrar’s Office.

Uniform Course Numbering Guidelines




Credit in these courses do not apply to the minimum 120 credits required for the baccalaureate degree.


 Introductory courses, generally without prerequisites, primarily for first-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for second-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students.


 Advanced courses primarily for fourth-year undergraduate students.


Courses primarily for first-year graduate students or prerequisites for 600- and 700-level courses.


Courses primarily for students admissible to graduate programs.


Courses primarily for advanced graduates in postmaster and postdoctoral programs.

Reserved Undergraduate Course Numbers

  • The numbers 180, 280, 380, and 480 are reserved for use only as special topics courses.
  • The numbers 399 and 499 are reserved for use only as independent study and research courses.
  • The number 490 is reserved for use only as an internship or practicum course.
  • The number 495 is reserved for use only as a Capstone course.

Reserved Graduate Course Numbers

  • The numbers 680 and 780 are to be used for graduate special topics courses.
  • The numbers 690 and 790 are to be used for graduate research preparation courses.
  • The numbers 693 and 793 are to be used for graduate project courses.
  • The numbers 695 and 795 are to be used for graduate thesis/dissertation courses.
  • The numbers 696 and 796 are to be used for graduate thesis/dissertation continuous enrollment courses.
  • The numbers 699 and 799 are to be used for graduate independent study courses.

Dual Level Enrollment Policy

Undergraduate students at Grand Valley State University may register for graduate credit prior to completing a baccalaureate degree. To do so, students must have earned a minimum of 85 semester hours, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, demonstrated potential to succeed at the graduate level as determined by the graduate program director of the graduate program offering the course or be admitted to a graduate degree program, and receive approval from their undergraduate advisor, the course instructor, and the graduate program director of the graduate program offering the course. Students wishing to apply for dual enrollment must obtain a Dual Level Enrollment Request form from the registrar’s webpage and indicate on the form that they are currently: (1) an undergraduate student requesting the designation of a graduate course as part of the undergraduate program (this course may not be used as part of some future graduate program at Grand Valley), or (2) an undergraduate student requesting enrollment in a graduate course to be designated as part of a future program (a student may count a maximum of 9 credits toward the graduate degree). The completed form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the close of business on the fifth day of the semester in which the student wishes to enroll in the course.

Grades - Midterm

Grades are reported by the registrar at midterm as well as at the conclusion of the semester. Midterm grades are reported for all freshmen and for any undergraduate student in other than good standing. Midterm grades will be available on the Web and not recorded on the student’s official transcript.

Grades - End of Term

Final grades are reported at the conclusion of each academic term and become part of the official record of the student. Final grade reports are available on the Web within one week of the last day of the examination period unless interrupted by university closure for holidays.


Transcripts of students’ academic records are available from the Registrar's Office. Requests for an official transcript bearing the signature of the registrar and the university seal will be prepared and mailed within 24 hours after the request. Unofficial transcripts will be prepared immediately for currently enrolled students. Unofficial transcripts are available at any time on the Web at no charge through myBanner. No transcripts will be released if a student has an encumbrance or indebtedness to Grand Valley State University. To comply with the federal mandate, transcripts will not be released without a signed, written request from the student.

Credit Hour Definition

Courses at GVSU are categorized into one of several course “activity” types. For each course activity type, the university has identified the number of hours students are expected to devote to the course per semester per credit. The definitions do not include homework, reading, studying, or other student preparatory activities. Furthermore, the definitions do not cover faculty workload expectations. In the definitions, a semester is assumed to be a typical 15 week instructional semester. Courses offered in other time frames can be scaled accordingly. As an example, the most common course is a 3 credit lecture/discussion. According to the definition, the university expects 45 student contact hours per semester for this course. For additional information please view the UCC definition.

The University Curriculum Committee makes exceptions to the policy based on accreditation standards and practice in the discipline. Please view the UCC definition and programmatic exceptions for additional information.

Academic Honesty

Integrity of Scholarship and Grades
Truth and honesty: The principles of truth and honesty are recognized as fundamental to a community of teachers and scholars. The university expects that both faculty members and students will honor these principles and in so doing protect the validity of university grades. This means that all academic work will be done by the student to whom it is assigned without unauthorized aid of any kind. Instructors, for their part, will exercise care in the planning and supervision of academic work, so that honest effort will be positively encouraged. Compliance shall include compliance with the following specific rules:

  • No student shall knowingly, without authorization, procure, provide, or accept any materials which contain questions or answers to any examination or assignment.
  • No student shall, without authorization, complete, in part or in total, any examination or assignment for another person.
  • No student shall, without authorization, allow any examination or assignment to be completed, in part or in total, by another person.
  • No student shall knowingly plagiarize or copy the work of another person and submit it as his or her own.
  • No student shall submit work that has been previously graded or is being submitted concurrently to more than one course without authorization from the instructor(s) of the class(es) to which the student wishes to submit it.

Any ideas or material taken from another source for either written or oral presentation must be fully acknowledged. Offering the work of someone else as one’s own is plagiarism. The language or ideas taken from another may range from isolated formulas, sentences, or paragraphs to entire articles copied from books, periodicals, speeches, or the writing of other students. The offering of materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment also is considered plagiarism. Any student who fails to give credit in written or oral work for the ideas or materials that have been taken from another is guilty of plagiarism.

Such activity may result in failure of a specific assignment, an entire course, or, if flagrant, dismissal from Grand Valley. For further information see the Student Code.

Policy on Research Integrity
The university has developed policies and procedures to comply with the federal government regulations regarding dealing with and reporting possible misconduct. Allegations of misconduct should be referred to the appropriate dean or appointing officer or the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, or the research integrity officer (excerpted from Grand Valley State University Policy and Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct in Science; for the complete policy refer to the Faculty Handbook). Students involved in research, who suspect that an incident of misconduct has occurred, should report the incident to the dean of their academic college or the research integrity officer.

Student Academic Grievance Procedures

Academic grievances are generally defined as those (a) involving procedures, policies, and grades in courses, (b) those involving major, minor, or program (graduate or undergraduate) degree requirements, (c) those involving general undergraduate university graduation requirements such as general education, total credit, or residency requirements, or (d) graduate degree requirements such as total credit or residency requirements. Filing of a grievance is required by the end of the following regular semester after notification of grade or receipt of adverse decision. Appeals of decisions must take place 30 days after receipt of notification.

a. Resolution of an academic grievance involving procedures, policies, and grades in individual courses. The resolution of academic grievances is based on two principles: first, that the resolution of a grievance should be sought at the lowest possible level, and second, that pathways for appeal exist for both faculty members and students. Resolution should be pursued as follows:

  1. An appeal to the instructor
  2. If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, a further appeal could be made to the unit head who may request that the appeal be put in writing. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the unit head’s decision.
  3. If the disposition by the unit head is not acceptable to either party, an appeal, in writing, may be made by either party to the dean of the college. If the dean feels that there is some merit in the written grievance, he or she may establish a committee to review the grievance and make a recommendation within 30 days to the dean. Such a committee may include a representative of the dean's office, a faculty representative from the college of the course under appeal, and a student representative. If a student representative is to be included in the committee, the student that is a party to the appeal must sign a FERPA release/waiver prior to the committee convening. Upon receiving the committee's recommendation in the latter procedure, the dean shall rule on the grievance. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the dean's decision.
  4. If the disposition by the dean is not acceptable to either party, an appeal, in writing, may be made to the provost. The provost’s review and judgment in the case will be final. Both the student and the faculty member will be notified in writing of the provost’s decision.

In cases where the faculty member in question also serves as the unit head, the dean shall appoint a suitable faculty member from the college to function as unit head for purposes of grievance. In a similar fashion, if the faculty member in question also serves as dean, the provost shall appoint a faculty member to act as the unit head for purposes of grievance. If an appeal is sought in this latter case, it will go directly to the provost.

b. Resolution of an academic grievance involving fulfillment of program, major, or minor degree requirements should be pursued as follows: An appeal to the unit head or graduate program director. If the grievance is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at this level, an appeal to the dean of the college would be possible, in the same manner as outlined in (a). Finally, a further appeal could be made to the provost as described in (a) above.

c. Resolution of an academic grievance involving fulfillment of general undergraduate university requirements, such as general education, total credits, and residency requirements should be pursued as follows: A written appeal to the director of the Student Academic Success Center. If at this point the grievance is still not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, a further written appeal could be made to the provost. In this case, the provost shall establish a committee to review the grievance and make a recommendation within 30 days. Such a committee shall include a representative of the provost’s office, a faculty representative related to the student’s major, and a faculty representative from outside the student’s college. Upon receiving the committee’s recommendation, the provost will render a final judgment in the case.

d. Exceptions to institutional graduate degree requirements sought by individual students will be determined by the dean and the provost.

The student filing the grievance may have an observer from the Dean of Students Office or a person of his or her choice attend any meeting at which the student appears. The faculty member involved in the grievance may have an observer of his or her choice attend any meeting at which the faculty member appears.


New undergraduate students: Course selection and tuition payments are completed during the orientation program. Complete orientation/registration information is mailed to all new students before their intended term of entry.

New graduate students: Complete registration information is sent to all new students before their intended term of entry.

Advance registration is intended primarily for all currently enrolled and former students and is normally held during the preceding semester.

Late registration occurs during the first five days of each semester. Any registration or tuition payment received during the period must be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable late registration fee. Courses beginning after the fifth class day and workshops or similar offerings without a prescribed registration process will be free of the late fee assessment on the first class day.

Schedule revision, or drop/add, is held concurrently with all registrations. A student may drop or add any course for which prerequisites have been met and capacity permits. Additional tuition charges are due when a student adds a credit. Under exceptional circumstances a student may be allowed to add a course after the deadline. The completed transaction, accompanied by support from the instructor, department chair, and collegial dean, must include a $25 late add fee and any additional tuition. Specific dates and times for all registrations are set by the registrar and listed in the schedule of courses. For more information on the new financial regulations regarding late registration and dropping or withdrawing from classes, click on the Important Policies section on the Financial Aid website.

Registering for two sections of the same course. Students may not be simultaneously enrolled in two sections of the same course specifically designated as repeatable for credit by a department or unit.


Prerequisite courses provide the background necessary for successful performance in a course. The university uses an automated check of students’ records, including transfer work and test scores at the time of registration to determine whether students have successfully completed the prerequisites for certain courses. The online catalog lists prerequisites in the course descriptions.

Prerequisite checking applies to all students regardless of their level or college. Prerequisites are enforced by the Banner student information system at the time of registration.

Students will be permitted to register if they have satisfactorily completed, are currently enrolled in the prerequisites for the course, or have departmental approval to be in the course.

Satisfactory completion means:

  • Meeting the minimum acceptable passing grade requirement as indicated in the course description by completion of a Grand Valley State University course or an equivalent transfer class
  • Having a test score that meets the requirement

If you have not satisfactorily completed or are not registered for the prerequisite, you will receive a prerequisite error message when you attempt to register for the class.

Electronic Overrides

If a course requires a registration permit, is closed, or prevents registration based on major, class, prerequisite etc., students may request a registration override through the myBanner system.  The department offering the course evaluates the request for an electronic override and determines if an override will be granted. Once the electronic override is entered into the Banner system, you can register for that class. The issuance of an electronic override does not automatically register you in the course.

Duplicate Registration

Students who register for the same class in multiple future semesters will be dropped from the class(es) for all subsequent terms.

Michigan Residence Requirements

The following brief summary of the policy adopted by the Board of Trustees of Grand Valley State University applies to all students:

Because students normally come to Grand Valley State University for the primary or sole purpose of attending the institution rather than establishing a domicile in Michigan, those who enroll in Grand Valley as nonresidents will continue to be so classified throughout their attendance as students unless and until they demonstrate that their previous domicile has been abandoned and a Michigan domicile established. No students shall be eligible for classification or reclassification as a resident unless they shall be domiciled in Michigan and have resided in Michigan continuously for not less than six months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which classification or reclassification is sought.

For purposes of the regulations, resident students are defined as students domiciled in the State of Michigan. Nonresident students are defined as those whose domicile is elsewhere. Students shall not be considered domiciled in Michigan unless they are in continuous physical residence in this state and intend to make Michigan their permanent home, not only while in attendance at Grand Valley but indefinitely thereafter as well, and have no domicile or intent to be domiciled elsewhere.

The residence of a student who otherwise would be classified as a nonresident will follow that of his or her spouse if the spouse is classified as a resident, after the student has met the six-month domicile requirement.

Non-US citizens who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States shall not, by reason of that status alone, be disqualified from classification or reclassification as resident. However, non-US citizens who are present in the United States on a temporary or student visa shall not be eligible for classification or reclassification as residents.

  • Individuals who are on active duty service in the U.S. military, reservists of the same, or U.S. veterans and their spouses or dependents are considered residents for tuition purposes.
  • Certain individuals may be eligible for consideration as resident student if they graduated from a Michigan high school after attending three years and are not legal residents of the United States; this eligibility extends for 28 months following high school or community college graduation.

It is the responsibility of the student to register under the proper residence classification, to advise the registrar of possible changes in residence, and to furnish all requested information pertinent thereto.

Application for reclassification must be filed no later than 10 calendar days following the first day of classes of the semester for which such reclassification is sought. Such application shall set forth in writing a complete statement of the facts upon which the application is based, together with affidavits or other supporting documentary evidence. Failure to file such an application on time shall constitute a waiver of all claims to reclassification or rebates for such semester.

Copies of the complete policy are available upon request from the registrar. Address all questions, concerns, and appeals of status to the registrar. The Residency Appeal Board will hear appeals of reclassification decisions.

Application for Degree

Grand Valley State University awards baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees three times each year: at the conclusion of the fall semester (December), at the conclusion of the winter semester (April), and at the conclusion of the spring/summer session (August).

Degree candidates must notify the registrar of their intention to graduate by completing an electronic application in myBanner prior to the semester in which their degree requirements will be complete.

Degree candidates will be allowed 30 days after the last day of the semester or session to complete all requirements and provide evidence of satisfactory completion to the registrar. No degree will be awarded until all temporary grades are removed. After the 30-day deadline, all remaining candidates will be dropped from candidacy status, and those students must reapply for some subsequent degree date. The candidacy deadline for each semester is listed in the schedule of classes on the Web. Exceptions to this policy will be based solely on extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student. Any request for an exception must be made in writing to the registrar.


Information concerning Commencement announcements, caps and gowns, invitations, tickets, time and place, assembling, and other relevant items will be mailed to all eligible degree candidates (see Application for Degree section, above) by the dean of students prior to the event.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Certification for Benefits

Grand Valley complies in full with all reporting requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Enrollment, academic status, progress toward degree, conduct, attendance, and graduation requirements are monitored and reported for all benefit recipient students. All eligibility and certifications are handled through the Registrar’s Office. Questions should be directed to that office.

Student Records: Statement of Policy (FERPA)

It is the charge of the registrar to maintain complete and accurate academic records for Grand Valley State University and its past and current student populations. Much of the record keeping is required by either state or federal mandate. Grand Valley adheres to the compliance guidelines of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. A statement of the compliance policy is available in the Registrar's Office.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Law

HIPAA is a federal law related to health insurance and medical privacy. Students who have access to protected health information through clinical placements must be trained in HIPAA compliance. Students who have access to certain health related information through their placements are required to receive training on HIPAA privacy practices. If you are not sure whether you should receive training in this area, please contact your major advisor.

Student Complaint

A student who has a concern that has not been addressed by a policy in this section may present his or her case in writing to the registrar. The registrar will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and respond regarding the disposition and assignment of resolution within 10 calendar days.

Student Responsibility

Each student must fulfill all general and specific requirements and abide by all pertinent academic regulations to earn a degree at Grand Valley State University. It is the responsibility of the student to learn the requirements, policies, and procedures governing the program being followed and to act accordingly.