Letter Grades | GPA | Grade Appeals and Changes
Pass/D/FailPreparatory Course Grading | Withdrawals
Administrative ReferralIncomplete Work in a Course

All grades are based solely on work completed during the term a course is offered, except in the case of a grade issued to replace an incomplete, as authorized by the Committee on Academic Standing. (See Incomplete Work in a Course.)

Letter Grades

The letter grading system within the Postbac Program is the same as that in Columbia's undergraduate colleges: A, excellent; B, good; C, fair; D, poor but passing; F, failure (a final grade, not subject to re-examination). Plus and minus grades are also used, except with grades of D or F. To satisfy any premedical requirement, students must earn at least a C.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The Registrar calculates semester as well as cumulative grade point averages based on the number of points per class. The GPA is used to assess a student's academic progress as well as to determine a student's eligibility for certain honors such as the Dean's List.  The GPA is printed on all official Columbia transcripts. GPAs are computed on the following scale:

A+ = 4.33

B+ = 3.33

C+ = 2.33

D = 1.00

A = 4.00

B = 3.00

C = 2.00

F = 0.00

A- = 3.67

B- = 2.67

C- = 1.67


In reviewing a student’s cumulative GPA for eligibility requirements pertinent to continued enrollment, linkage, or the Certificate in Premedical Sciences, the Premedical Sciences Committee takes into account the term and cumulative GPAs derived from approved math and science courses taken as part of the premedical sciences curriculum at GS.

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Grade Appeals and Grade Changes

Assessment of a student's performance in a course is at the instructor's discretion. When a student feels a grade appeal is warranted, the student should first speak with the instructor of the course in order to understand how the evaluation was derived or to clarify other specific concerns. If dissatisfied with the explanation or uncomfortable in broaching this matter with the instructor, the student should speak with the director of undergraduate studies or, if appropriate, the chair of the relevant department.

Deans and GS advisors can counsel a student on whether and how to approach an instructor about a grade appeal; however, they do not arbitrate grade disputes. Students should keep their GS advisors informed of any pending grade disputes or appeals, as the Office of the Dean of Students can help to expedite a response from a faculty member or department.

If the student is unable to resolve the matter to his or her satisfaction and believes that a procedural issue is involved, the student should bring the matter to the attention of the GS Dean of Academic Affairs who will work with the student and the faculty member to determine whether there has been a procedural breach and, if so, take immediate steps to remedy the matter. If relevant faculty other than the instructor, in consultation with GS Academic Affairs, decide that the grade or other academic evaluation was appropriate, given class assignments and circumstances, the student will be informed and the decision will be final.

The statute of limitations on final grade appeals is three months from the end of the semester in which the course was taken.

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Pass/D/Fail Option

The Pass/D/Fail (P/D/F) option, including the opportunity to uncover a Pass, is not available to Postbac students, except in preparatory coursework as defined below.

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Grading for Preparatory Courses

Math W1003 (College Algebra-Analytic Geometry) may be taken P/D/F. Preparatory courses such as Basic Math, Basic Physics and Preparation for College Chemistry are given a Pass/Fall grade; no letter grades are given.

Math UN1003

Students enrolled in College Algebra and Analytic Geometry (MATH UN1003) may take the course either for a letter grade or for a P/D/F grade. Students who elect to take this course P/D/F are advised that their advisor will verify that they performed at the C grade level or better. No student will be eligible to take Calculus I until he or she is eligible to receive at least a C in College Algebra and Analytic Geometry (MATH UN1003).

If a student elects to take College Algebra and Analytic Geometry (MATH UN1003) for a grade, that grade will not be considered by the Premedical Committee to be part of the student’s grade point average for premedical coursework.

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Withdrawal (W)

Postbac Premed students are not permitted to have a course deleted from their academic record after the drop deadline (the fifth week of classes). If a student withdraws from a course after the drop deadline, and no later than the Monday prior to the last day of classes each semester, the transcript will show a mark of W for that course. This is a permanent mark and will remain on the transcript even if the student repeats the course.  Students may not drop or withdraw from any class after this deadline.

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Administrative Referral (AR)

The mark of AR (Administrative Referral) is a temporary grade awarded by a faculty member when a final letter grade cannot be assigned. Following the designation of the AR mark, the student’s academic advisor will follow up with the student and instructor to outline the requisite steps to determine an appropriate final grade. AR is not a permanent grade.

In the event that the student has been approved through petition to the Committee on Academic Standing to receive an Incomplete in the course, the mark of “IN” will then be submitted by the academic advisor. Please note that ultimately the assignment of the final letter grade is at the instructor’s discretion.

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Incomplete (IN)

Written Work and Exams

Students must complete all coursework by the last day of exams in a given semester. For students who cannot complete their coursework or are unable to take a final examination, an incomplete for a course in progress may be granted by the Postbac Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). (Faculty members, while consulted for approval of specific extensions, are not authorized to grant incompletes.) Students should contact their advisors first when an exam or deadline is missed. Petitions for official incompletes at the end of term should be based on unexpected circumstances that arise only within the last two weeks of the course, and which may prevent a student from timely completion of the final coursework or exam.

The only reasons for which an IN will be granted are incapacitating illness, as certified by the University Health Services or a personal physician, serious family emergency, or circumstances of comparable gravity. Students who wish to receive the mark of IN must, in consultation with their Postbac Premed advisors, petition in writing. To be granted an incomplete, it is expected that students will have completed all work in the class with the exception of the final project or exam. Students who are granted an incomplete are assigned a deadline for completion of the overdue work or a date by which a deferred examination must be taken. Those who fail to meet the assigned deadline or miss the deferred examination will receive the contingency grade provided by the instructor.

Students with more than two incompletes usually cannot enroll in the following semester without the explicit permission of the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Committee on Academic Standing. When allowed to enroll, students with more than two incompletes will usually be advised to enroll part-time.

Incomplete Written Work
Students must submit a formal petition for an incomplete on written work by the last day of classes. The petition must be accompanied by the syllabus and a copy of the assignment showing the due date for the assignment. This deadline is set because written work is normally due during the last week of classes; if a deadline for written work other than an exam is set for later than reading week, the student has one day from the missed deadline to submit a petition for an incomplete. Students are advised to submit a draft of their written assignment to the faculty member while the petition for an incomplete is being considered by the Postbac Committee on Academic Standing.

Incomplete Exams
In situations in which an incapacitating illness prevents a student from sitting for a final exam, the student should contact his or her advisor immediately about the missed examination, and must provide the advisor—within 72 hours of the missed exam—certification of the illness by University Health Services, a personal physician, or an emergency room, and submit a petition for a deferred exam. If circumstances warrant a make-up exam, the student will be permitted to sit for the exam on one of the official deferred exam dates published in the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Academic Calendar. Students cannot pick the date, but they will be notified of the date, time, and place of the exam.

Postbac Premed students registered for Summer Term classes must abide by this same policy and process for exams missed during the summer; however, make-up exams for summer courses are administered through the Summer Term Office, not the School of General Studies.

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