Grades, Credit and the Academic Record
All course work for which a student enrolls for credit toward the Pomona degree constitutes a part of the academic record, unless enrollment is withdrawn by the drop deadline. Students must provide the Registrar’s Office with official transcripts of all coursework completed at other colleges or universities; when such work is creditable to the Pomona degree it is posted on the Pomona College transcript as transfer credit.
Course Credit Definition
The Pomona College calendar consists of two semesters, each having approximately 70 instructional days and 5 days of final examinations. A semester course (referred to simply as “a course,” since Pomona does not use semester hours) generally consists of three 50-minute, two 75-minute, or one 150-minute session weekly for the semester and also generally including a minimum of 8-10 out-of-class hours per week.
Courses meeting more than 150 minutes per week (such as laboratory courses) may in some cases require commensurately less out-of-classroom work than others.
There are instances where a course might involve fewer formal class meetings than the norm but require commensurately more than 8-10 hours of out-of-class work. Such cases include:
• Courses involving required conferences between students and instructor (tutorials, individualized music instruction);
• Courses involving unusually extensive, required independent work (programming, reading, research, and writing);
• Courses involving supervised intensive experiences (internships, research/laboratory assistantships, field work, study abroad);
• Courses involving the performing arts;
• Courses involving athletics or other practice, such as language conversation.
Grades at Pomona College recognize and evaluate student achievement and standing. Grades may be based on one or more of the following: mastery of course materials, performance compared to peers, and individual growth and improvement during the course. Passing letter grades range from A through D; F signifies a failing grade. Grades A through D may be modified with + or – to reflect finer distinctions. The grade of A+ indicates superlative achievement and is rarely given.
The College defines grades as follows:
Grade points are assigned on the following scale.
The grade point average is calculated by averaging grade points received in all Pomona courses, in courses taken in Pomona College off-campus programs, abroad or in the United States, and in courses taken through cross-enrollment in The Claremont Colleges except courses taken on a Pass/No Credit grading basis. To convert a Pomona GPA to a 4-point scale, divide by 3. For example, a 12.0 average at Pomona is equivalent to a 4.0 GPA on a 4-point scale.
Pass/No Credit (P/NC) Option
Grades assigned are:
P: Pass, work equivalent to C – or higher
NC: No credit, work equivalent to D+ or lower
Courses graded on the P/NC system are not entered into the grade point average calculation. Grades in courses in which the student opted for the P/NC option (as opposed to courses in which the P/NC option is automatic) are identified with a ^ symbol on the official transcript; i.e., P^ and NC^ indicate that the student elected the P/NC grading option.
Regulations regarding P/NC grading:
- First-year students and sophomores are limited to three P/NC courses per year.
- The Breadth of Study and other General Education Requirements may be taken on a P/NC grading basis.
- Juniors and seniors have unlimited P/NC options outside their majors. In some cases, students may petition their departments to take specific major courses on a P/NC basis.
- With permission of the Curriculum Committee, a department may designate a course to be taken only for a letter grade or only on a P/NC basis. Such courses are identified in the course descriptions in this catalog.
- Work in no more than two junior or senior Independent Study courses within the student’s major may be graded on a P/NC basis at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor reports this decision to the registrar within the first 10 class days of the semester.
- Courses taken on a P/NC basis are not included in the computation of a student’s grade-point average.
- To qualify for Commencement honors and certain other prizes and awards, a student must have taken at least three quarters of their courses for letter grades.
Incomplete (I) grades are not routinely or automatically allowed at Pomona College. In situations where illness or other unforeseeable circumstance has prevented a student from completing a portion of a course’s requirements, students may present an Incomplete Petition to the College’s Academic Procedures Committee (APC), along with documentation of the circumstances and with the instructor’s consent, a description of the missed work and deadlines for the submission of all outstanding work for the course. The petition must be filed one week before the last day of classes if the circumstances upon which the petition is based existed by that time; otherwise, the petition must be filed by the Reading Day Friday before the beginning of the final exam period. The deadline for completing outstanding coursework in a course in which an Incomplete has been approved is the fifth day of instruction in the following semester. When an incomplete is requested because of illness at the time of final examination, medical documentation is required within 48 hours of the date of the final exam.
Other Grades & Transcript Notations
I: Incomplete (see Incomplete Grades section)
W: Withdrawal with permission of the Academic Procedures Committee after the official drop period has elapsed
N: Designates completion of the first semester of a 2-semester sequence course; converted to a regular grade after the second semester is completed
IP: Designates a course that is in progress or that has not yet been graded
NR or NGS: Indicate a missing grade that has not been submitted by the instructor
The normal presumption in the administration of grades at Pomona College is that the instructor alone is qualified to evaluate the academic work of a student in their courses and to assign grades to that work. Once recorded in the Registrar’s records, a grade may be changed only in one of two ways:
- Upon the certification by the instructor that an error has occurred, and with the approval of the Associate Dean of the College.
- By the procedures described below, when a student has substantial grounds for believing that a particular grade was assigned in a manner that was arbitrary or unjust, or that crucial evidence was not taken into account. This is apart from questions of the quality of the work, which is subject to the judgment of the instructor.
The student should first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the outcome of that discussion is satisfactory, and the instructor proposes a changed grade based on the criteria laid out in (2) above, then the instructor should submit a petition to the APC based on that discussion and request the change in grade. If the outcome of that discussion is not satisfactory, the student can submit a petition to the APC to hear a grade dispute based on the criteria laid out in (2) above. On the basis of this petition, the APC makes an initial determination to hear the case. If the APC decides to hear a grade dispute, the case is brought to the full committee of the APC, which will serve as the hearing panel for the case, unless the student petitioner had requested that student APC members not review the petition, and in that case, there will be no students on the hearing panel. The decision of the APC hearing panel on the disputed grade shall be final.
A grade dispute petition must be submitted by the end of the seventh week of the semester following the one for which the disputed grade has been given, and final disposition of the case must be made by the end of that semester. In the event that extenuating circumstances make it impossible for these deadlines to be met, the APC may arrange to postpone the process. Examples of such circumstances would be the temporary absence of either the faculty member or the student from Claremont, or illness which makes it impossible for one of the participants to be present.
For futher information about the process for a grade dispute, see the Student Handbook.