Compared with undergraduate education, graduate study places greater emphasis on students’ self-directed work and individual commitment to learning.

Grades are consequently only one index of your academic success. They are never an assessment of your worth as a human being. Nor are they a simple assessment of the value of your ideas, interests, and ambitions. Grades are primarily intended as broad feedback, and should be treated as an opportunity to seek out ways to improve as you move forwards.

UW’s Graduate Grading System

The University of Washington’s Grading System for Graduate Students provides a framework for understanding grades as a form of feedback, and their connection to your Satisfactory Academic Performance and Progress.

Numerical Grades

You can expect that most of your graduate classes will be graded numerically, with some notable exceptions as outlined below. The Grading System for Graduate Students the increments by which numerical grades can be reported and how to understand them.

Please note the following:

  • A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree.
  • A minimum final GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.
  • Grades below 1.7 will be recorded as 0.0 by the Registrar and will not count toward residency, total credit count, or grade and credit requirements.

Credit/No Credit (C/NC) Grades

Some courses are offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. The following curricular offerings are Credit/No Credit classes.

  • In Policy Studies, BPOLST 509 Proseminar and BPOLST 510 Statistic Fundamentals
  • In the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics, the thesis and thesis practicum (BCWRIT 700 and BCWRIT 599)

Credit/No Credit courses count for degree credit, but are not averaged into the cumulative grade point average. To receive credit for a C/NC course, a student must earn the equivalent of a 2.7 numerical grade or above.

Internships and Directed Research may be graded numerically or on a credit/no credit basis, as decided with the instructor of record.

If you have any questions about how your courses will be graded, please consult your instructor, or contact the IAS Graduate Office.

Other Grades

The following letter grades may also be used.

Please refer to the Grading System for Graduate Students for more specifics.


An Incomplete may be given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

To obtain credit for the course, a student must successfully complete the work and the instructor must submit a grade. An incomplete received by the graduate student does not automatically convert to a grade of 0.0 but the “I” will remain as a permanent part of the student’s record.


Under normal circumstances, a graduate student may choose to be graded S/NS for a numerically-graded course, with the approval of their program director. Under the extra-ordinary circumstances of the pandemic and remote instruction, students can opt to do this independently, during or after the quarter.

S/NS grading is the student-driven equivalent of C/NC grading, which is faculty-chosen and course-based. The instructor will submit a numeric grade to the Registrar’s Office for conversion to S (numerical grades of 2.7 or above) or NS (numeric grades lower than 2.7). S/NS grades count towards degree credit and are not averaged into the cumulative grade point average.

W (WITHDRAWAL), or Registrar Drop

It is your responsibility to withdraw and go on leave if you are unable to attend for the quarter.

  • Through the end of the Unrestricted Drop Period, you may withdraw by dropping all courses from your MyUW registration page.
  • Beginning the first day of the Late Course Drop Period through the last date of instruction, you must withdraw by following the Adviser Assisted Drop process, as listed on the Current Quarter Drop webpage.
  • Courses that you drop in the Late Course Drop Period will appear on your Transcript as “RD” (for Registrar Drop) with the number of the week when you withdrew.

See the processes and forms for course withdrawal and drop.

See the processes and forms for going on leave.

For more details on grades, visit the UW Graduate School’s page Grading System for Graduate Students.

Grade Appeal

The School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences upholds values that include institutional responsiveness and social justice, diversity, and equity. In accordance with The University Handbook/ UW Policy Directory (Chp 110.2) and UW Bothell’s procedures for the Written Appeal of Grade Error, the following procedures aim to aid IAS graduate students and faculty in resolving concerns about fair assessment quickly and directly while promoting a productive and positive learning environment.

Graduate students enrolled in Policy Studies, or Creative Writing & Poetics programs should follow the procedure outlined below if they wish to dispute their grade for any BPOLST, or BCWRIT class.

  1. Graduate students should first seek resolution to the grade dispute in face-to-face conversation with their instructor.
  2. If your instructor is not responsive to your request to meet, please contact the Graduate Programs Manager/Adviser to discuss.
  3. If the face-to-face meeting with your instructor does not result in resolution, you may appeal the grade by writing to the director of your program, copying the instructor and the IAS Dean, within ten days of the meeting. Students are invited to meet with their program director before writing the appeal, but after meeting with their instructor.
  4. Once a student submits a written appeal, this document, and all subsequent actions on this appeal, are recorded and retained in school files.
  5. Students may consult with the Graduate Programs Manager/Adviser at any time to discuss the steps of the university Grade Appeal Procedure and how to move forward toward resolution.

Degree Honors

Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude are honors for Bachelor’s Degrees, not Master’s Degrees or Doctorates. These honors do not apply for Graduate Students.