Grading System

Grades represent the professional judgment about student performance in relation to the goals and requirements of a particular course. Dominican University of California records the student’s progress or achievement in a particular course by letter or pass-fail grades. Grades are given at the end of the semester. The grade submitted at the end of the semester is the final recorded grade for the course.

Grade notations are as follows:

A Outstanding work
B Very good work: Significantly better than average
C Average work: Assignments completed in a satisfactory manner
D Work below the standards of the course: Credit given for the work done although of inferior quality
F No credit given for the course: The amount or quality of work done for the course did not earn academic credit
I Incomplete: Indicates that a small portion (less than 25%) of required coursework has not been completed and evaluated in the prescribed time period due to unforeseen, but fully justified, reasons and that there is still a possibility of earning credit. An incomplete grade indicates that the student is otherwise earning a passing grade, attendance has been satisfactory, and required work may reasonably be completed in less than one additional semester. Students do not re-register for a course in which a grade of 'I' was received. Grades of 'I' are automatically changed to 'UF' if no grade is submitted by the appropriate deadline.
P Pass: Credit is given for documented demonstration of college level learning, but no letter grades are assigned. Sources include: Experiential Learning Portfolio, CLEP, Excelsior College, Advanced Placement tests, ACE/PONSI, military basic training, DSST, and Dominican course challenge. Pass grades are limited to specially-designated or elective courses only, as letter grades are required for CORE Curriculum and Major/Minor coursework in most programs, with the exception of Dominican's Applied Computer Science program. A pass grade is equivalent to a ‘C’ (2.0) or better in undergraduate courses, and equivalent to a ‘B’ (3.0) or better in post-baccalaureate or graduate courses.
PR In Progress: Given only for Senior thesis or capstone courses requiring that work extends into the following semester. This grade does not penalize a student academically in computing the GPA for the current semester and does not prevent an otherwise qualified student from being on the Dean's List. Students do not re-register for a course in which a grade of 'PR' was received. Grades of 'PR' are automatically changed to 'UF' if no grade is submitted by the appropriate deadline.
S Satisfactory Progress: Previously given only for developmental courses (i.e., ENGL 1001, 1002, and 1003) where the student has performed satisfactorily, but has not made sufficient progress to progress to the next level. Units are awarded.
UF Unofficial Failure: Administrative grade assigned when an ungraded or incomplete course remains unresolved past the deadline. This grade calculates as an ‘F’ in computing the GPA.
W Withdrawn: Student withdrew from course after the official drop period in the semester
AU Course Audited: No credit appears on transcript
NG Not Graded: Applies to some labs, colloquium and cluster titles, and thesis continuation only

Calculation of Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade points for each semester unit of work are assigned to the grades as follows:

A 4 points C- 1.7 points
A- 3.7 points D+ 1.3 points
B+ 3.3 points D 1 point
B 3 points D- 0.7 point
B- 2.7 points F 0 point
C+ 2.3 points UF 0 point
C 2 points

Not computed in the grade point average are: I, P, S, W, PR, AU, NG, and an F grade in a Pass/Fail course.

The grade point average, which determines the student's academic standing in most programs, is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of computable, letter-graded, semester units carried.

Pass/Fail Courses: Undergraduate Programs

A student in good academic standing (at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA) may enroll in any elective course on a Pass/Fail basis if they have the consent of the instructor teaching the course. Courses taken Pass/Fail may not be used to fulfill the CORE Curriculum requirements for graduation or the units required for a major or minor in most programs, with the exception of the Senior seminar, internship, fieldwork. A significant exception to this policy is Dominican's Applied Computer Science program, which is graded solely on a Pass/Fail basis, with accompanying narrative evaluations.  Requests for Pass/Fail grading in a specific course that is not already designated as a Pass/Fail course, must be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office no later than the deadline to add courses each semester/session. After the semester deadline for adding courses, the student who has registered to take a course for a letter grade or on a Pass/Fail basis may not change the grading option. A student registered for a course on a Pass/Fail basis is expected to do all of the work for the course.

The Experiential Learning Portfolio option in the Adult Degree Completion program is a process that evaluates college level learning through proficiency assessment. While letter grades are not assigned to units awarded through Experiential Learning Portfolio, students must demonstrate proficiency at the level of ‘C’ (2.0) or better. Selected Experiential Learning units may meet some General Education requirements, elective units, or required electives in some majors. See the Credit for Prior Learning section of this catalog for experiential learning areas that may be petitioned for credit.

Students may apply credit earned through selected examinations and/or approved course challenges toward electives or requirements in the major or for certain General Education areas. Detail is provided in the Transfer Credit Policies section of this catalog.

Students are advised that the GPA for Graduation Honors is based on the student’s computable letter-graded units completed at Dominican (a minimum of 30 units taken at Dominican is required for the undergraduate degree). Pass/Fail units are not included in the computation for honors at graduation.

Pass/Fail Courses: Post-Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs

A grade of “Pass” in a post-baccalaureate or graduate level course is equivalent to at least a 3.0, which is a grade of ‘B’ or better. Graduate level courses are not generally offered for Pass/Fail credit, except for internship or field placement courses, or by special permission of the department.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades are given only in extraordinary circumstances (e.g., illness or very serious personal reasons) beyond the student’s control, and only under the following circumstances:
  1. When a limited amount, normally less than 25%, of the student’s work is incomplete
  2. When the student is otherwise earning a passing grade
  3. When attendance has been satisfactory through the term
  4. When required work may reasonably be completed in an agreed-upon time frame of less than one additional semester

The Incomplete Grade Request Form must include a list of which assignments or exams are to be submitted to the instructor by a deadline that is acceptable to both parties, as well as information about possible grading penalties.

Students must file an Incomplete Grade Request Form with the Registrar’s Office before the last day of classes for the semester, and prior to final examinations. Requests for an Incomplete grade must have the signatures of the student, the instructor, and the chair of the academic department offering the course. In the case of CORE Curriculum courses, the signature of the Dean of General Studies is required. In the case of internships, the signature of the Director of Career & Internship Services is required.

Unless an earlier date is specified on the request form/contract, all coursework for an incomplete course or internship incurred during the Spring semester or Summer session must be submitted to the instructor by the following December 1 and those incurred during the Fall semester must be submitted by the following May 1. Students must have the instructor’s approval to extend the deadline for completing the work. Requests for extensions beyond the one-semester limit require the approval of the Academic Petition Committee in addition to the instructor. Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the assignment of the grade of ‘F.’ Incomplete grades that have reverted to ‘F’ are final. A student with an ‘Incomplete’ grade in a prior term is not eligible for honors such as the Dean's List.  Students receiving financial aid should consult with their financial aid counselor about the regulations concerning incomplete grades and satisfactory academic progress prior to taking action.

In-Progress Grades

In-progress grades are given only for thesis courses, directed research, or other specialized capstone courses requiring that work extends into the following semester. The In-Progress form must be signed and submitted by the instructor during the grading period for the semester, at the same time that grade rosters are submitted. In-progress grades are not allowed for internships. Students do not re-register for the same course in which an In-Progress grade was received. 

Unless an earlier date is specified on the request form/contract, all coursework for an incomplete or in- progress course incurred during the Spring semester or Summer sessions must be submitted to the instructor by the following December 1. For those incurred during the Fall semester, all coursework must be submitted by the following May 1. An ‘In-Progress’ grade does not penalize a student academically in computing the grade point average for the current semester and does not prevent an otherwise qualified student from being on the Dean's List. Students who receive financial aid must seek the advice of their financial aid counselor to ensure that the 'In Progress" does not jeopardize their Financial Aid eligibility. Grades of 'PR' are automatically changed to 'UF' if no grade is submitted by the appropriate deadline.

Repeated Courses

Undergraduate students may repeat courses in which a grade of ‘D’ or ‘F’ has been earned. In the CORE Curriculum, a student must achieve a grade of “C” (2.0) or above in prerequisite courses leading to the terminal course in a given CORE area, such as Effective Communication.  In order to progress in the program, the student therefore must repeat such courses in which less than a 2.0 is earned. Nursing and Occupational Therapy majors are subject to different standards than the general student population and should consult the most recent department handbook, or consult the academic advisor or department chair, for details on repeating courses. Graduate students may repeat courses with a ‘C’ (2.0) or below with the Program Director’s approval. All students receiving financial aid who intend to repeat a course are strongly recommended to consult with their financial aid counselor ahead of time concerning the regulations regarding repeated courses.

In the case of repeated Dominican courses, both letter grades remain on the academic record, but upon successful completion of the repeated course, only the higher grade is calculated into the GPA, and the student receives credit for the course only once. If a course taken at another college is repeated at Dominican, the higher grade will be applied toward the degree; both grades will appear on the record and credit will be given only once. Grade points and GPA’s affected by a successfully repeated course will appear on the transcript, beginning with the semester of the successful repeat.

Students should check their unofficial transcript on Self-Service after the completion of a repeated course to ensure that their grade point average has been adjusted appropriately, especially in cases of transfer courses and/or courses with different Dominican course numbers. See the Academic Renewal Policy section of this catalog for unsuccessful work taken at least five years earlier.

Grade Appeal Process

Grades represent the professional judgment about student performance in relation to the goals and requirements of a particular course. Although it is the sole responsibility of the instructor to assign grades, students should not be subjected to calculation errors or misapplication of course criteria for grading, nor to improper grading, such as the application of non-academic criteria, including race, politics, religion, or gender. All grades except 'I' (incomplete) and 'PR' (in progress) are considered final. Incomplete or In Progress grades that have reverted to 'F' are final. An instructor may change a grade when he/she has made a computational, procedural, or judgmental error.

If a student believes there has been a computational, procedural, or judgmental error in the calculation of a grade, the student must raise the question with the instructor, either in conversation or in writing, no later than February 15 in the case of Fall semester grades and October 15 regarding Spring semester and Summer session grades. If an instructor determines that there has been an error in grading, he/she obtains the official form for requesting the change from the Registrar's Office Forms web page or from the Registrar's Office. The instructor must submit the grade change form directly to the Registrar. Students may not submit the grade change form.

If a student believes they have been assigned a grade unfairly, based upon criteria other than those named above, they must first discuss the grade with the instructor. The student should begin by requesting the instructor to review with them:

  1. The factors that were weighed in assigning the grade
  2. The instructor's perceptions of where and how the student's performance fell short

If the student still thinks that the issue has not been resolved, the student must submit to the instructor, with a copy to the Department Chair, a full written statement of the case along with all graded course assignments. This statement must be made no later than March 15 for a Fall semester grade and by November 1 for a Spring semester or Summer session grade. The instructor must make their written response to the student, with a copy to the Chair, and set a meeting date with the student within 10 working days of receipt of the student’s written statement.

If, after the exchange of written statements and conversation, the student still thinks that the grade is unfair, they must formally appeal in writing to the Chair within 10 working days of the receipt of the instructor's response. The Chair will consider any additional material presented by either the faculty member or the student and then prepare a written response, with copies to the instructor, student, and Dean of the School, regarding their assessment. If, in the judgment of the Chair, the grade is unfair, the Chair will ask the instructor to re-evaluate the student's work. In every case the burden of proof remains with the student.

If the student wishes to appeal the decision of the Chair, he/she must file a formal complaint in writing to the Dean of the School within 10 working days of the Chair's decision. The written formal complaint should contain reasons why the Chair's decision should be reconsidered. The Dean will provide a formal response within 10 working days of receiving the formal complaint. The decision of the Dean is final.

Independent Learning Activities

The following categories represent a variety of independent learning options available to Dominican students:

  • Independent Study (IS) courses with numbers ending in “99” (Note: Only one IS course may be taken in any given semester and a maximum of two IS courses may be applied toward the degree. Students pay the same tuition for independent study as for lecture/lab courses.)
  • Internships
  • Research Assistantships
  • Teaching Assistantships

Each option requires a special contract, which specifies the conditions, duration, methodologies, and outcomes necessary for earning academic credit. The contract is signed by the student, the instructor/coordinator, the Chair of the academic department, and the Dean of the school. The course may be in any field, provided the department considers the student's preparation adequate. The study must not duplicate the content covered by a regularly scheduled, available course offered in the same semester.

Thesis Continuation: Undergraduate

Each academic department has a specified set of Senior thesis/Senior project courses. These vary in number and unit value by department, depending on the nature of the discipline and the methodology the department has determined best for the completion of the thesis or project. Certain departments do not permit thesis continuation and students are responsible for knowing the policy on continuation in their own department.

Some academic departments permit students who do not complete the thesis/project within the department’s normal course sequence to register for one semester of thesis continuation. There is a fee charged for thesis continuation, which is in addition to tuition for any other courses in which the student may be enrolled. Students who do not complete the thesis or project during the department's regular course or course sequence receive a ‘PR’ grade. When the student finishes the Senior thesis or culminating project, the ‘PR’ grades are replaced by the thesis grade. Thesis continuation may not be repeated.

If the student does not successfully complete the thesis or project at the end of the thesis continuation semester, a ‘UF’ replaces the ‘PR’ grade in the department’s Senior thesis or culminating project course sequence. If the student receives a ‘UF’ and later wants to return to complete the thesis/project, they must have the approval of the Department Chair to re-enroll in the department’s appropriate Senior thesis/project course(s) for the appropriate units* and pay at the tuition rate then applicable.  *Determination of the appropriate number of units includes calculating the volume and the quality of the work as well as the time it will take the student and the reader(s) to accomplish final completion.