Grades and Grading

Grades are posted to your CalCentral academic record by the Office of the Registrar shortly after the close of the semester. You may access your final grades via CalCentral once they have been posted. Individual grades are not given out by the School of Social Welfare. For more policies concerning grades and special provisions for graduate students, please consult the Guide to Graduate Policy E1.3 Grades.

Letter-Graded Grading Option

The University of California, Berkeley, uses a plus and minus letter grade system on a four-point scale. Any letter grade under C- is not considered passing. Students must retake any course required for the degree if they do not earn a passing grade.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grading Option

When taken on the S/U basis a student must earn a grade of B- or better to be considered passing. No more than one-third of your total course work prior to advancement to candidacy can be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis. If you elect to take more than one-third of your courses in any given semester on an S/U basis, rather than for a letter grade, you should check with the GSAO to make certain that your total percentage is still within required limits. 300 and 400-level courses do not count toward the S/U limit. SOCWEL 290A&B and SOCWEL 292A&B do count toward the S/U limit.

Changing Grading Option

Students may change their grading option directly on Cal Central through the Wednesday of the 4th week of instruction each semester. After this deadline, submit a “Graduate Petition to Change Course Schedule” to the GSAO. Students can make grading option changes through the GSAO up through the Friday before RRR Week.

Incomplete Grades

If your work in a course has been of passing quality but cannot be finalized due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control, your instructor may give you a grade of Incomplete. An Incomplete will not be assigned simply because a student needs additional time to complete course requirements.

In the School of Social Welfare, your instructor must state the reason for the Incomplete in the comment column of the grade report, and inform your Graduate Advisor of your plans for completing the work via a Graduate Student Petition for an Incomplete Grade form approved by your instructor. Notify your GSAO via email when the form has been submitted.

Once you have completed the work and your instructor has graded it, your instructor reports the grade directly via CalCentral. There is no deadline for graduate students for the removal of incomplete grades, but all Incompletes in required courses must be removed in order for you to receive your degree.

Per the Guide to Graduate Policy the following academic penalties apply to graduate students with Incompletes:

  1. MSW students with more than two “Incomplete” grades on their academic record are not considered in good academic standing and may face probation and dismissal.
  2. Students who have three or more Incompletes are academically ineligible to hold a student academic appointment (e.g. GSI, GSR).
  3. A student can have no more than one Incomplete in a non-required course per year of the degree program (e.g., for a two-year Master’s program, two Incompletes in courses not required are allowed) for award of the Master’s degree to be approved.

Grade Grievances

Per University policy, all grades except “Incomplete” and “In Progress” are considered final when assigned by an instructor at the end of a term. Grade changes are not permitted except in the case of clerical or procedural error. Grade changes may not be made on the basis of a reassessment of the quality of the student's work.

The only formal challenge of a grade permitted by University policy is when an instructor assigns a grade utilizing non-academic criteria (such as considerations of race, politics, religion, sex, or other factors not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements) or when sexual harassment or improper academic procedures unfairly affect a student’s grade. For more information please see the Academic Senate's Procedures for Grade Appeals.

Grievances about a grade should first be addressed with the instructor who assigned the grade in question. The student should first meet with the instructor to discuss the grievance and clarify reasons for the grade assignment. Students may also seek mediation assistance and advice from the GSAO, the Academic Program Manager, or the Campus Ombudsperson. Keep in mind that these advisers do not have the authority to require an instructor to change a grade.

If informal mediation of a grade grievance does not result in satisfactory action, a student may submit a formal appeal to the Dean of the School of School Welfare, subject to the conditions outlined in the School’s Student Grievance and Appeal Procedures. Formal appeals must be directed to the Dean of the School of Social Welfare, 120 Haviland Hall. A written statement indicating the action being appealed, the grounds upon which the appeal is based, the relief requested, and any background information that the student deems pertinent to his or her case, must accompany the appeal. The appeal must be filed with the Dean within two semesters of the alleged offense.