Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

Grading Policies

Each semester's work is an entity and grades are to be assigned for work completed during the normal period of the semester. Final grades are entered in the grade roster (not gradebook) in Faculty Center. Instructions and procedures can be found here.

Important End of Semester Dates

Fall 2023 DateEvent

December 4, Monday

Last Day of Classes

December 6, Wednesday

FA23 Grade Rosters Created

December 8 -16

Final Exams

Final exam policies

December 11, MondayGrade Posting Begins
December 16, SaturdayLast Date of Academic Activity 
December 17, SundayDecember Graduation Recognition Ceremony
December 22, FridayAll Grades Due

December 31, Sunday

 December Degree date (Conferral Date)

January 3, WednesdayIncomplete and Failing Grade Forms due in OLGAA

Refer to the Key Academic Dates for more information.

Grading Policies

Letter Grades:

The official University grading system is composed of letter grades with pluses and minuses. Passing grades range from A+ to D-; F is failing. 

S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) Grades: 

The purpose of the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) system is to encourage students to venture into courses outside their main areas of familiarity without great risk to academic record.

  • S means satisfactory, as defined by performance that would be graded C- or higher, and U means unsatisfactory, as defined by performance that would be graded below C-.
  • Cornell does not issue grades on a Pass/Fail basis; the S/U threshold for successfully completing and earning credit for a course is a minimum grade of C-.
  • Grades of S and U are not given grade point values or considered in computing grade point averages.
  • Student earn credit toward the fulfillment of graduation requirements for course grades of S, but not for course grades of U.
  • Students must select their grading option by the end of the drop-deadline of the semester. No exceptions to this deadline are permitted.
  • Within the 120 credits required for the degree, a minimum of 100 letter credits must be earned

More information can be found in the Grading Guidelines section of the courses of study.


The grade of incomplete is appropriate only when two basic conditions are met (1) the student has substantial equity at a passing level in the course with respect to work completed. (2)The student has been prevented by circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness or family emergency, from completing all of the course requirements on time. While it is the student's responsibility to initiate a request for a grade of incomplete, reasons for requesting one must be approved by the instructor. The instructor will establish specific make-up requirements and deadlines for completion.

CALS students should not re-enroll in a course where they have received an incomplete (INC). Instead, coursework should be completed under the direction of the course instructor. Generally, deadlines are two successive semesters, but instructors may require shorter deadlines.  If a deadline is not entered, two successive semesters serves as the default deadline. If the coursework is not completed within the designated time period, the notation of Incomplete (INC) will be converted to a failure (F*) or unsatisfactory (U*/UX*) grade depending on the grading structure of the course. Once a CALS student has graduated, no additional work can be completed. Evidence of an incomplete remains permanently on the transcript. When the course has been completed, a grade is entered with an asterisk (*), indicating that it was not completed during the regular semester. 

Note: A student may not graduate with an Incomplete (INC) on the transcript.

More information can be found in the Grading Guidelines section of the courses of study.

Undergraduates student may not audit courses.

  • All academic work must be submitted by the last day of the term to avoid an incomplete.  Although the grading deadline to submit final grades may be after the end of the term, all student academic work for grades must be submitted to instructors by the last date of the term to avoid an INC grade and to avoid any adjustments to the student's last date of academic activity.
  • Grades are protected by FERPA and university policy. Grades should never be posted or made public. Email should never be used to communicate or discuss grades. If grade rosters, reports and other confidential material must be distributed within the University, use Secure File Transfer.
  • Please assign everyone on the grade roster a grade.  
  • The Grade Roster status should never be changed. If the grade roster is changed to "Ready for Review" the grade roster will be locked. Please email cals-studentservices [at] to have the Grade Roster unlocked.
  • Grades are entered into the grade roster in Faculty Center for each student individually, or multiple grades may be uploaded from a spreadsheet.
  • When assigning a grade of INC (incomplete) or F (failing) grade, you must also complete the online reporting form found here by the grading deadline (see above). Choose the "Failing and Incomp" tab at the top of the page to search for an individual student or filter (using "more options") to find your class roster and complete the appropriate form.

To avoid the influencing of grades by improper consideration or student pressure, a grade, once given, may only be changed if an error in the original grade is confirmed by the instructor.  The instructor should be willing to review the basis of an assigned grade with an inquiring student and correct the grade if an error is found. As a matter of equity, grades must not be changed after the end of a semester on the basis of a student’s subsequent completion of additional work. Upon graduation, all courses and grades on a student’s transcript are frozen and may not be altered.  (See the Faculty Handbook 6.1 Instruction/Grade Changes) If necessary, refer students to the CALS Office of Student Services (cals-studentservices [at] Official grades can be changed by using OLGAA, the On-Line Grade Adjustment Application.