Grading System & GPA Calculation

UMass Credit Hour

The current nationally recognized standard, the Federal Credit Hour Standard, defines a three-credit course as three fifty-minute classes per week over a fifteen-week semester (including final exam week), or the equivalent (for courses using a non-traditional format such as blended or online learning). This standard assumes that each credit hour generates two hours of assigned work for every hour of in-class contact. Thus, the guiding rule is 45 hours of work per semester for each unit of credit. For laboratory courses or their equivalent, one credit hour is assigned for three hours of laboratory, workshop, studio, fieldwork, independent study, etc. The current applicable interpretation of the Federal Credit Hour Standard may be found in the latest edition of the “Policy on Credits and Degrees” of the New England  Commission of Higher Education.

A 4.000
A- 3.7000
B+ 3.300
B 3.000
B- 2.700
C+ 2.300
C 2.000
C- 1.700
D+ 1.300
D 1.000
F 0.000
IF 0.000 (incomplete failure calculates as an F for students without graduate standing until final grade is received)
INC 0.000 (incomplete calculates as an F for students without graduate standing until final grade is received)
__ 0.000 (blank grade calculates as an F for students without graduate standing)


Other grade symbols not included in quality point calculations are:

AUD Audit
CR Credit
DR Dropped
IP In Progress
NR No grade roster received (i.e., the instructor has not yet submitted grades for any students in the course)
P Pass (added to graduation credits)
SAT Satisfactory
W Withdrawn
WF Withdrew Failing
WP Withdrew Passing
Y Year-long course


Please note: All INC (incomplete) grades not completed by the end of the following semester will be converted to grades of F if taken before Fall 2004, or IF if taken thereafter.

To Calculate Your Grade Point Average for a Semester

  1. Compute the grade points earned in each course, using the chart above to find the point equivalent for each grade and multiplying the points for each grade by the number of creditsfor that course. Then add all the resulting numbers. This is your grade point total for the semester.
  2. Add all the credits attempted, whether you earned a passing or failing grade – but do NOT include credits in a course for which you earned a P, Y, W, CR, SAT, AUD, DR, IP, WP, WF or NR grade.
  3. Divide your grade point total by the total number of credits attempted (again, ignore credits for P, Y, W, CR, SAT, AUD, DR, IP, WP, WF or NR courses). This is your grade point average for the semester.


For example, if you took the following courses and secured the given grades:

Course Credits Grade
English 4 A-
Math 3 B
History 1 D
Sociology 2 P
Animal Science 3 INC


To complete step one, find the point equivalentsfor your grades in the chart above and multiply them by the credits attempted in the courses, ignoring Sociology because courses with P gradesshould not be included.

Course Grade equivalents Credits Total points for each course
English 3.700 pts x 4 = 14.800
Math 3.000 pts x 3 = 9.000
History 1.000 pts x 1 = 1.000
Animal Science 0.000 pts x 3 = 0.000

Then, add the total points for each course:
14.800 + 9.000 + 1.000 + 0.000 = 24.800 total grade points earned

To complete step 2, add the total credits attempted in those graded courses:
4 (for English) + 3 (for Math) + 1 (for History) + 3 (for Animal Science) = 11 credits attempted

To complete step 3, divide the total grade points earned by the total graded credits(and round to the nearest thousandth if needed):
24.800 / 11 = 2.2545...

So rounded to the third decimal point, 2.255 would be your Grade Point Average for the semester.

To Calculate Your Cumulative Grade Point Average

Add your grade point total for ALL semesters you have been at the University (see Step 1 above). Calculate the total number of credits attempted in ALL semesters at the University (see Step 2 above). Divide your grade point total for all semesters by the total credits attempted in all semesters.

Note: While grades and credits for coursestransferred to UMass Amherst from other institutions are NOT included in UMass grade point averages, Five College cross-registrations are included.