Grades and Grading

Grades are posted to your academic record in CalCentral by the Office of the Registrar shortly after the close of the semester. Once they have been posted you may access your final grades via CalCentral. 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 Berkeley Academic Guide: Academic Policies and the Guide to Graduate Policy E1.3: Grades.

Grading Options

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 with the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading option, 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 with the S/U grading option. 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.

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, students must submit a Graduate Petition to Change Course Schedule to the GSAO to request a change of grading option. 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 the Head Graduate Adviser and GSAO of your plans for completing the work by submitting an Incomplete Grade Petition Form for SSW Graduate Students completed by both you and your instructor.

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 before you apply for the Qualifying Examination.

To be in good academic standing, you can have no more than two “Incomplete” grades on your academic record. Students are also not allowed to hold a GSI or GSR appointment if they have accumulated more than two Incompletes.

All Incompletes on your record must be removed before you are advanced to candidacy, unless the Head Graduate Adviser states that the course work is neither necessary nor closely related to your degree, and that removal would delay your progress toward completion of the degree.

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 Assistant Dean for Student Services, 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.