Grading and Grade Requirements

Final grades on academic work are provided to students via DukeHub after the examinations at the end of each term. Midterm advisory grades for first-year students are issued in the fall and spring and are provided to students via DukeHub.

Passing Grades

Passing grades are A, exceptional; B, superior; C, satisfactory; S, satisfactory (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory system below); and D, low pass. These grades (except S) may be modified by a plus or minus. A Z grade may be assigned for the satisfactory completion of the first term of a two-course sequence, and the final grade for both courses is assigned at the end of the second course of the sequence.

Although the D grade represents low pass, no more than two courses passed with D grades may be counted among those required for year-to-year continuation or among the 34.0 course credits required for graduation. Courses for which a D grade is earned, however, satisfy other requirements. For information on repeating a course with a D grade, see the section Course Load and Eligibility for Courses.

Failing and Unsatisfactory Grades

A grade of F or U (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading system below) indicates that the student has failed to meet the requirements for the course. The grade is recorded on the student’s record. If the student registers for the course again, a second entry of the course and the new grade earned are made on the record, but the first entry is not removed. All grades that appear on the record, with the exception of S and U, are included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average is based on grades earned in courses offering credit at Duke and may be calculated based on the following numerical equivalencies to the grading system:



























With Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory courses, neither S nor U are calculated into the grade point average. The semester and cumulative grade point averages are determined at the end of each semester and displayed for students on the academic history reports made available to them via DukeHub.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading System

With the consent of the instructor and academic dean a student may register for grading on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis in one course each semester and summer session, although only four courses taken on this basis may be counted toward the 34.0 course credits required for graduation. The limit of four does not apply to courses that are designated as mandatory S/U grading basis. A grade of S will be awarded if the student has earned the equivalent of a letter grade of C- or better, while a U will be awarded for the equivalent of a D+ or worse grade. Neither an S nor a U will be factored into the grade point average. Students who receive a U will receive no credit for the course and will be ineligible for Dean’s List in that semester.

Students who receive an S will receive credit towards general education requirements, including curriculum codes, and the course will count toward the requirement for 34.0 course credits and continuation requirements. No other degree requirements (major, minor, certificate, including prerequisites) may be met by a course passed under the S/U option, unless by permission of the director of undergraduate studies of the department or program. Taking a course on the S/U basis may make one ineligible for the Dean’s List (see the section on Academic Recognition and Honors). Students studying abroad or on domestic study away programs may not receive credit for courses taken on an S/U or Pass/Fail basis.

Students who wish to take a course on an S/U basis must obtain permission from the instructor and their academic dean. Students have until the withdrawal deadline (usually set four weeks before the end of courses) to switch the grading basis for a course to an S/U basis. Students must enroll in a course on a graded basis and may be allowed to switch to an S/U basis before the deadline by filing a request with the Office of the University Registrar. Students are advised to wait to switch to S/U grading until they are certain. An S grade earned in a course may not be converted subsequently to a letter grade, and the course may not be retaken.

Students who, via accommodation by the Student Disabilities Access Office (SDAO), register for 3.0 course credits per semester may take a maximum of one S/U course per semester. 

Effects of Incomplete Work

For purposes of determining satisfactory progress each term and toward graduation, incomplete work in a course indicated by a grade of I or X is not presumed to be satisfactory performance in that course. Furthermore, an incomplete (I grade) or X grade during the academic year cancels eligibility for semester honors in the term the I or X grade was issued; i.e., Dean’s List and Dean’s List with Distinction. See the section Incomplete Coursework.

The W and WA Designations

The designation W is recorded when a student officially withdraws from a course after the Drop/Add period. (See the section Course Changes after Classes Begin in the Fall and Spring Terms on Registration & Courses.) WA indicates withdrawal from an audited course.