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Grading System in the US

The educational system in the US does not used the numerical grading system which is used widely across the world. Students in the US are evaluated using a credit / grade system.

Most colleges and universities in the USA use a credit system in which specific number of credit hours are allotted for each course the student undertakes. A normal course load of 6 to 12 credit hours per semester is common for a graduate course. The professor evaluates the academic performance of the student using a GPA or the Letter grade system.

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The grading systems used are mostly on a four-point scale: Undergraduates are expected to complete their courses with C average or better while graduates require no less than a B average.

Grade  GPA Undergraduate  Graduate 


Excellent Excellent


Good Good/Average


Average Passing


Passing Failing


Failing Failing

Students securing 'Grade F' in any course(s) will require to redo the course before staring advanced courses. However, many graduate students consider a grade below 'C' unacceptable as it could affect campus placements.

In addition to the above regular grades, certain universities offer grades such as

IP - In Progress

An IP grade means that the student has not completed all the portions of a multi-portioned class that is taken over multiple semesters to earn the regular grade. The IP would be changed to regular grade once all the portions are completed.

NC or NIC- Not Complete Or Incomplete

This grade indicates that the student has missed some exams, assignments or homework that are important to evaluate performance.

W - Withdrawn

This grade indicates that the student has decided not to enroll for the course after attending the classes for more than a predetermined period.

Some schools also offer intermediary grades, the grading scale being A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- and F. while representing as GPA an A+ grade may represent A GPA OF 4.00, or above, A to 3.67, A- corresponds to 3.3,similarly B+ to 3.0, B to 2.67,B- to 2.3 and C+ to 2, C to 1.67, C- to 1.3 and so on.

However the final GPA that a student graduates with is not a simple average, it is a weighted average. The weight is the number of credit hours that are predetermined by the faculty based on the course contents and displayed in the course schedule.

The final GPA = letter grade value * credit hours/ credit hours.

For example:

If you take 5 courses with course 1, 2 and 3 with 3 credit hours, course 4 with 2 credit hours and course 5 with 4 credit hours, and receive an "A" in each of the courses, your GPA is (15 x 4) / 15 = 4.0.

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