Scholastic Standards

Graduate students' academic progress is monitored and reviewed to ensure they adhere to the scholastic standards established by Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the Office of Graduate Studies.
Each semester, the Office of Graduate Studies notifies students who fail to meet the academic criteria.

A student's work in any course will be evaluated in accordance with the following system of letter grades: A, B, C, D, F, NC, and P.

Grading definitions and standards are posted here in the University Grading Policy.

Under the P/NC (pass or no credit) system, a graduate student may choose to register for a course with the understanding that credit will be received, indicated by the letter "P," only if the equivalent of a "B" grade or better is earned. If a “B-“ or below is earned, no credit will be granted, and a "NC" will appear in place of the traditional grade on the record. Whether the grade is "P" or "NC," the hours taken will not enter into the computation of grade point average.

Graduate students may take any course for which they qualify as general education or elective on a Pass/No Credit basis. (Departments may, with approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, prohibit P/N students from graduate courses open only to their majors. These courses will be designated in the Class Schedule.)

Departments may use Pass/No Credit grades for theses, individual study courses, practicums, workshops, tours, seminars, and internships in the major field. They may not use Pass/No Credit grades for other courses in the student's major without the specific approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Students should check with respective departments for specific information. Students shall have the option of choosing the regular grading system or the P/NC system in all courses open to P/NC. All grading method changes must be processed through the Office of the Registrar by the posted deadlines.

No more than one-third of a graduate degree shall consist of Pass/No Credit grades.

Quality points (grade points) are determined on the basis of letter grades. The number of quality points earned for a course may be determined by multiplying the number of points the grade commands by the number of credits the course carries. 

Quality point calculations are as follows:

A+ =
B+ =
C+ =
D+ =
F =
A =
B =
C =
D =
P =
A-  =
B- =
C- =
D- =
NC =

The total number of quality points acquired by the student divided by the total number of credit hours attempted on a regular grade basis, is called the grade-point average (GPA). Grades of 'NC' and 'P' have no effect upon the calculation of a grade-point average.

No grade lower than a 'C' is counted for graduation credit (AKA, C- grades and below), but all grades earned (including Ds and Fs) are counted in determining the grade point average. Graduate courses may be repeated but credit for the course is applicable toward the degree only once. However, all grades earned for that course shall be used in calculating the grade point average.

Each semester, the Dean of Graduate Studies monitors the academic standing of all graduate students and takes the actions notated below, based on the students' semester-ending grade reports. 

A student who fails to meet the academic standards may be required by the Dean of Graduate Studies to withdraw from the university.

Individual academic programs may have published retention and dismissal policies that differ from those noted below. In these cases, the departmental policy will supersede the general university policy.

Students receiving financial aid (excluding non-federally funded university graduate assistantships) must abide by federal, state, and institutional policies, including but not limited to, satisfactory academic progress standards. For additional information please see The Graduate Tuition and Aid page.

Based on the review of graduate students' semester ending grade reports, students who have failed to meet specific academic standards will receive one of the following academic standing letters:

  1. Academic Warning letters are sent to graduate students who receive:
    • A grade less than 3.0
    • An In-Progress (IP) or Incomplete (I) in any graduate course of 2 credits or more
    • A cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0
  2. Probation letters are sent to students who received an academic warning letter the previous term and who have subsequently failed to demonstrate significant improvement in their academic record. While under Academic Warning status, students who receive a grade of less than 3.0, a grade point average for the term of less than 3.0, a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0, or an In-Progress or Incomplete in excess of four graduate courses of 2 credits or more will be placed on probation.
  3. Dismissal letters are sent to all students who were placed on probation the previous term and who failed to demonstrate a significant improvement in their academic record and received a grade point average for the term less than 3.0, or a grade of less than 3.0, IP, or I in excess of four graduate courses of 2 credits or more.

On the recommendation of the appropriate department and concurrence of the Dean of Graduate Studies, a hold may be placed on future registration of graduate students who are not making satisfactory progress toward a degree.


More information regarding registration holds can be found here.

Students may be dismissed from a graduate program for "cause" by the Dean of Graduate Studies based on recommendations from the advisor, examining committee (if one exists), and the department chairperson.

Determined by the professional judgment of the department and the Dean of Graduate Studies, "cause" is the conclusion that the student does not meet the academic or professional requirements of the program or university.


The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than two courses of three or more credits each or I/IP grades in more than three courses of two or more credits, or a combination of the above in four courses (excluding thesis/APP credits) may remove the student from degree status.

The outcome of a complaint/grievance may be appealed by the grievant or the employee(s) named in the complaint/grievance if either party has new information or evidence of procedural errors in the handling of the grievance that substantially impacted the outcome.

Students who wish to submit an appeal, complaint, or grievance should follow the steps located here.