Wellesley’s 2004 Grading Policy was rescinded Fall 2019.

About the Grading Policy

Over the course of the 2018-2019 Academic Year, the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy and the Academic Council reviewed Wellesley’s policies concerning the grading of student work. This review led to three changes to College legislation.

  1. The grading policy voted on by Academic Council in April 2004, which legislates that the mean grade in courses at the 100 and 200 level with 10 or more students shall be no higher than B+, has been rescinded, effective in Fall 2019.

  2. All academic departments and programs will be required to engage in an annual conversation about grading practices, philosophies, and outcomes, and to report on the outcomes of these conversations in their annual reports.

  3. The Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy will review and report at least once each academic year on the grades awarded in the previous year.

The College’s letter grading system remains unchanged, as does the College’s definition of letter grades, outlined in the College’s Articles of Government. The College will continue to include along with transcripts documentation about the grading policy that was in force between 2004 and 2019 (see below).

Grading System

For complete information see the ARTICLES OF GOVERNMENT, BOOK II, ARTICLE VII, SECTION 1.C. Students have the option of electing each course on a letter or non-letter grading system.

Wellesley’s Letter Grade System

The following are letter grades with associated quality points in parenthesis:

Grade A (4.00) is given to students who meet with conspicuous excellence every demand that can fairly be made by the course.

Grade A- (3.67)

Grade B+ (3.33)

Grade B (3.00) is given to those students who add to the minimum of satisfactory attainment excellence in not all, but some of the following: organization, accuracy, originality, understanding, insight.

Grade B- (2.67)

Grade C+ (2.33)

Grade C (2.00) is given to those students who have attained a satisfactory familiarity with the content of a course and who have demonstrated ability to use this knowledge in a satisfactory manner.

Grade C- (1.67)

Grade D (1.00) is a passing grade. There is no grade of D+ or D-.

Grade E (0.00) is given at the close of a semester when the student has been given permission to resubmit a final paper or retake the final exam. An "E" grade can remain on the record or be replaced by only a "D" or "F".

Grade F (0.00) Failure. (Factors into the GPA)

The following non-letter grades are given: Non-letter grades may earn credit, but do not impact the student's grade point average.

CR - Credit (requires a grade of C or better - Fall 2003 forward); (as of Fall 2014, this grade denotes that the student elected Credit/Non-Credit grading for the course)

I - Given for work incomplete at close of semester. "I" will remain and be followed by a grade, when that permanent grade is recorded.

INC - Permanent incomplete given if an earned final grade for excused or unexcused incomplete work is not submitted within the stipulated time period. No credit is earned.

​MCR - (Mandatory) Credit

MCRD - (Mandatory) Credit with Distinction (in a course which requires Mandatory Credit/Non-Credit grading as of Fall 2014)

MNCR - (Mandatory) No Credit (in a course which requires Mandatory Credit/Non-Credit grading as of Fall 2014)

NCR - No credit (a grade below C was earned in the course); (as of Fall 2014, this grade denotes that the student elected Credit/Non-Credit grading for the course)

NP - No pass (under the shadow grading policy effective Fall 2014)

P - Credit in MIT course (requires a grade of D or better); (prior to Fall 2014)

P - Pass (under the shadow grading policy effective Fall 2014)

R - Credit (requires a grade of C or better); (prior to Fall 2003)

RD - Credit with Distinction (used for some writing courses); (prior to Fall 2003)

TBG - A two semester course to be graded at the end of the second semester.

WDR - A course dropped after the deadline to drop without notation on the record becomes a permanent withdrawal.; a non-punitive grade.

XI - Excused Incomplete, "I" will be replaced by a grade or "INC".

Credit/Non-Credit Information

Students have the option of taking an unlimited number of units on a Credit/Non-Credit grading basis. However, a student who wishes to be considered for Latin Honors should review the legislation very carefully. Even if the student does not receive credit for a course that has been declared Credit/Non-Credit, the course will be considered part of the total Credit/Non-Credit units for consideration of Latin Honors.

For students entering before September 2009, to be eligible for Latin honors, students entering as first-year students may take no more than one-quarter of their Wellesley and MIT courses after the first year on a Credit/Non-Credit basis. For students who began their degrees somewhere other than Wellesley (that is, Davis Scholars and transfer students), the number of Credit/Non-Credit courses allowed is prorated in proportion to the number of Wellesley courses taken after the equivalent of the first year of college. Students should consult their class dean for further clarification.

For students entering in September 2009 or later, to be eligible for Latin honors, a student may take no more than one-quarter of potentially graded units (i.e., mandatory Credit/Non-Credit courses are not included) on a Credit/Non-Credit basis after the first semester. A minimum of 12 graded courses (adding up to at least 12 units) must be included in the calculation for Latin honors. For Davis Scholars and transfer students entering in September 2009 or later, Latin honors will be based on grades in all Wellesley and MIT courses taken. Students should consult their Class Dean for further clarification.

The period during which students may declare that they wish to take a course on a Credit/Non-Credit basis is the first four weeks of the fall and spring semesters (or the first two days of Wintersession or each Summer Session). Students must use the online registration system to declare that they wish to take a course Credit/Non-Credit.

Effective in the Fall 2003 semester, if a student receives a grade of C or higher in a course that she has elected Credit/Non-Credit, a notation of CR (credit) will appear on her transcript; if she receives a grade lower than a C, then a notation of NCR (no credit) will appear on the transcript. If a student withdraws from the course after the fourth week of the semester, a WDR will appear on the transcript; if she does not complete the work for the course, then an I or INC will be printed on the transcript.

Effective in the Fall of 2014, grades for classes that are Mandatory Credit/Non-Credit will be recorded on transcripts as MCR or NMCR, instead of CR and NCR (as it shows for courses taken prior to Fall 2014).

Students are encouraged to consult their Class Dean if they have any questions about taking courses Credit/Non-Credit.

Grading Policy: Effective April 2004 - May 2019

In February 2003, Academic Council acknowledged the inconsistency between the college's legislated grading standards and current grading practices. In April 2004, and again in February 2008, and in April 2011, the faculty voted in favor of specific measures to address this inconsistency and reaffirm the college's grading standards. The policies in effect are:

  • The mean grade in 100-level and 200-level courses with 10 or more students should be no higher than 3.33 (B+). For the purposes of calculating the mean grade, instructors should submit a letter grade for all students listed on the course grade sheet (including students electing the course credit/no credit);

  • Instructors of courses with a mean above 3.33 should submit an explanation to the chair of the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy (CCAP). If the high average grade is due to students' withdrawal from the course late in the semester or Incompletes that remain unresolved, the instructor should calculate a mean that includes estimated grades for students who withdrew or had incomplete work;

  • The chair of the CCAP will report to Council each semester on the grades recorded in the prior semester, such reports to include the distribution of grades by course level and by department and, if applicable, the reasons that course grades exceeded the B+ maximum. These data should be discussed at least annually in academic department meetings;

  • CCAP and the deans should work together with the Career Education and advisors for professional and graduate study to communicate our standards and values to recruiting companies and graduate institutions;

  • The president and dean of the college should meet with department chairs and/or individual faculty members when grades are consistently above those mandated by this policy;

  • The dean of the college will inform all new faculty of this policy.

This policy was revoked in May 2019.