Grades

A student’s grade in a subject is related more directly to the student’s mastery of the material than to the relative performance of his or her peers. In determining a student’s grade, consideration may be given for creativity, imagination, originality, and elegance of presentation, among other factors. Grades at MIT are not rigidly related to any numerical scores or distribution functions, and are not awarded solely according to predetermined percentages.

Note that the MIT internal grading system includes plus (+) and minus (-) modifiers for use with the letter grades A, B, and C for all academic subjects (except advanced standing exams). These modifiers are included on internal grade reports. However, they are not officially part of a student’s grades, they do not appear on MIT transcripts, and do not affect internally or externally reported grade-point averages.

Passing grades: Graduate students who satisfactorily complete the work of a subject by the end of the term receive one of the following grades. Note that in most departments and graduate programs, grades below B are normally considered an unacceptable measure of progress towards degree objectives.

A: Exceptionally good performance demonstrating a superior understanding of the subject matter, a foundation of extensive knowledge, and a skillful use of concepts and/or materials.

B: Good performance demonstrating capacity to use the appropriate concepts, a good understanding of the subject matter, and an ability to handle the problems and materials encountered in the subject.

C: Minimally acceptable performance for graduate work, demonstrating partial familiarity with the subject matter and some capacity to deal with relatively simple problems, but also demonstrating deficiencies serious enough to make it inadvisable to proceed further in the field without additional work.

P: When the use of the passing grade P is authorized, it reflects performance at the level A, B, or C, with the student graded on a P/D/F basis.

Non-passing grades: The grades and notations used for subjects not passed or not completed by the end of the term are as follows.

F: Failed. This grade also signifies that the student must repeat the subject to receive credit.

O: Absent. This grade indicates that the student was progressing satisfactorily during the subject but was either (a) absent from the final examination or (b) absent during the last two weeks of the term (for a full-term subject) or the last week of the term (for a half-term subject), or both (a) and (b). An O grade carries no credit for the subject. Unsatisfactory performance because of absence throughout the term should be recorded as F.

OX: Absence satisfactorily explained to and excused by the OGE. When the excused absence involves a missed final exam or final project, a petition is required to change the “O” grade that the student will receive for that subject to a grade of “OX.” The student and the department academic administrator will be notified when an O is changed to an OX. An OX carries no credit for the subject. However, the faculty member in charge must provide the student the opportunity to receive a credit-carrying grade. This may be done with or without the instructor requiring a make-up final examination or other additional evaluation procedure. The work is to be completed before Add Date of the succeeding term of the regular academic year; however, the faculty member in charge, in negotiation with the student, has the right to set an earlier or later date for pedagogical reasons or extenuating circumstances.

I: Incomplete. The grade I indicates that a minor part of the subject requirements has not been fulfilled and that a passing grade is to be expected when the work is completed. The grade I for the term remains permanently on the student’s record even when the subject is completed. The work should normally be completed before Add Date of the succeeding term of the regular academic year; however, the faculty member in charge, in negotiation with the student, has the right to set an earlier or later date for pedagogical reasons or extenuating circumstances. Graduate students may extend the five-week deadline with the explicit approval of the faculty member in charge.

J: A notation assigned by the instructor for thesis work that has progressed satisfactorily, but has not been completed. The grade given upon completion of the work in a later term also covers this term. The grade assigned on the completion of a master’s or engineer’s degree thesis of at least 24 units is given a weight of 24 units in the cumulative rating. The J grade may also be used for satisfactory completion of work in the first term of a subject that is to be continued into the following term. The use of the J grade for such subjects requires prior approval by the Committee on Graduate Programs.

T: Temporary notation. The grade T is used for subjects that cover the equivalent of one term’s work, but are scheduled over parts of two normal grading periods. Prior approval must have been obtained from the Committee on Graduate Programs for graduate subjects. This notation is recorded only on the student’s internal record. A permanent grade must be assigned when the subject is finished.

U: A notation for thesis work that has not been completed and in which progress has been unsatisfactory. Grade given upon completion of the work in a later term also covers this term. Unless a student’s progress improves significantly, the student may expect that grade to be failing. Such performance may lead to a dean’s warning or, if not corrected, denial of permission to continue.

Other notations: The following notations are also used on the academic record.

S: Notation for credit awarded for work done elsewhere.

SA: Notation for satisfactorily completed doctoral thesis. Doctoral theses are not graded.

DR: A notation to be used only on the student’s internal record for a subject dropped after the fifth week of the regular term.