University of Montana Western logo.
Apply Visit More Info

200.1 Grading System and Grade Point Average

Date Adopted: 2/11/2003
Date Last Reviewed: 10/05/2023
References: Montana University System Policy 301.5 Transfer of Credits.
Issuing Office: Academic Affairs
Approved By:  Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

  1. Policy

    Grades shall be assigned to all students taking any graded course. A grade point average will be calculated for each student for each term and a cumulative grade point average for all graded courses taken at The University of Montana-Western shall be calculated.

  2. Purpose

    Grades should reflect how well a student is achieving stated course outcomes and grade point average is an important measure of how well a student is achieving program outcomes.

  3. Procedures

    Grades are assigned by faculty using the following table:

    Grade Meaning Number of Grade Points per Credit
    A Excellent 4
    B Good 3
    C Satifactory 2
    D Passing 1
    F Failure 0
    I Incomplete *
    W Withdrawal *
    P Pass *
    AU Audit *
    * The grades of I, W, P and AU are awarded only under restricted conditions described below and are not used in the calculation of grade point average.

    A grade point average is obtained by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of credits attempted. Credits attempted include all credits for which the student has received a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F.


    Students may enroll in certain courses on the pass/fail basis. A freshman or sophomore with a grade point average of 2.0 or better may take one undergraduate course a semester on a pass/fail basis. Juniors and seniors may take more than one pass/fail course a semester.

    No more than 10 pass/fail credits may be counted toward the baccalaureate degree and no more than 6 pass/fail credits may be counted toward the associate degree. No pass/fail credits will be counted toward the requirements for a major, minor, or courses required for graduation with the exception of student teaching, observation and participation and cooperative education.

    Election of the pass/fail option requires the consent of the instructor.

    Western cautions students that many graduate and professional schools and some employers do not recognize non-traditional grades (i.e. those other than A, B, C, D, F) or may discriminate against students who use the pass/fail option for many courses. However, Western encourages students to consider the potential value of learning without being concerned with grades and to experiment with some courses on a pass/fail basis.


    With the consent of the instructor, a student may enroll in a course on a non-credit basis, but must pay the same fees as students enrolled for credit. Also, a student may elect to change the status of enrollment from credit to audit during the first half of the semester, but may do so only if the instructor indicates approval and the form requesting the change of status is submitted to the Registrar’s office before the midterm deadline to drop classes.


    An incomplete grade (“I”) may be given if at least three-quarters of the course work is complete at the end of the semester, and for the following reasons only: illness, personal emergency, or academic conditions beyond the control of the faculty or student.

    The “I” grade shall normally be made up by the end of the next semester the student is in attendance, or one (1) year from the end of the semester in which the student received the “I” grade, whichever comes first. The instructor may change this deadline. An incomplete not made up in the prescribed length of time will automatically become an “F” grade.

  4. Authority

    This policy is consistent with Montana University System Policy 301.5 Transfer of Credits.

  5. Responsibility

    Each faculty member is responsible for assigning a grade to each student registered in each respective course and submitting those grades by the published deadlines using the campus internet system set-up for this purpose.

    The Registrar is responsible for keeping a record of all grades assigned to all students, calculating grade point averages, posting student grades and grade point averages, and preparing official transcripts showing student grades and grade point averages.