Grades and Grading

Grading Policies for Social Welfare Majors

GPA Requirement for Graduation

In order to graduate, Social Welfare majors must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in both the core Social Welfare classes, and in the elective social science classes taken to fulfill major requirements.

For complete information and policies on grades, grading and GPA calculation, please see the Berkeley Academic Guide to Academic Policies: Grades.

Grading Options

  • All courses taken to satisfy prerequisite entry requirements must be successfully completed with a minimum letter grade of C.
  • All courses used to fulfill major requirements, including core and elective courses, must be taken for a letter grade.

For information and guidance about Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grades, please see Berkeley L&S Advising, Grading Options: Letter Graded and Pass/No Pass.

Incomplete Grades

The grade I may be assigned if your work in a course has been of passing quality, but is incomplete for reasons beyond your control. Prior arrangements must be made with the instructor because in assigning the I grade the instructor is required to specify the reasons to the department chair. Incomplete grades can only be granted by instructors and instructors are under no obligation to grant students an incomplete grade. 

Although I grades are not counted in computing the GPA, it is important to remove them quickly. In cases where an instructor agrees to assign an I grade, it is important to arrive at an agreement about exactly what is required in order to finish the course with the instructor. For information on how to remove an I grade, please review the Office of the Registrar's procedures for Incomplete grades.

For Incomplete grade guidelines, deadlines and FAQs, please see Berkeley L&S Advising: Incomplete Grades.

Repeating a Core Class to Improve a Grade

College of Letters and Science (L&S) policy allows a student who received a grade of D+, D, D-, or F to repeat the class in order to improve the grade. Social Welfare students are advised that due to the impacted nature of the major, enrollment in all core classes for the major is prioritized for those taking the class for the first time, and there may not be seats available in the next offering of a core class for students wishing to repeat the class. For more information and policies on repeating courses, please see Berkeley L&S Advising: Course Repeats.

COVID-19 Measures: Grading for Spring Semester 2020

As part of Berkeley's response to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, all undergraduate Spring 2020 standard grade-based and elective passed/no passed enrollments were converted to the default passed/not passed (DPN) grading basis on Sunday, April 5, 2020. This will appear as “DPN” on the My Academics card in CalCentral.

The change in grading policy means the following for Social Welfare majors enrolled in Spring 2020:

  • Major Requirements: Social Welfare core classes and approved primary and secondary electives taken in the Spring 2020 semester will be permitted to be taken P/NP and will still satisfy major requirements.
  • Honors Thesis Course: If you are enrolled in SOC WEL H195, you can take this course P/NP, and will still be eligible to graduate with honors in the major. Similarly, if you are currently enrolled in SOC WEL 110, a prerequisite for H195, we will accept a grading option of P/NP for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Graduate courses: Any Social Welfare graduate courses that undergraduates are currently taking will still satisfy the SOC WEL 116 requirement, even if it is taken S/U (P/NP). Please note that instead of Pass/No Pass, the grade designation for graduate courses is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U), and the cutoff for a passing grade is a B-, instead of a C-. If you have any concerns, please speak with your instructor.
  • Graduate School: The university strongly encourages students to take their courses P/NP this semester. Understandably, there is a lot of concern about the implications this may have for graduate programs. Graduate schools all over the country will be seeing similar grade notations from several universities during this period. Our best advice would be to check in with the specific program you are interested in applying to, and get their feedback for admissions purposes.

For more information about changes to grading policies for Spring 2020, please also see: