Grades in the Ph.D. Program

The University of Memphis uses a four-point grading system. For most substantial courses students receive one of the following grades: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, or F. The points awarded for each credit of a plus/minus grade are: A+=4.00, A= 4.00, A-=3.84, B+=3.33, B=3.00, B-=2.67, C+=2.33, C=2.00, C-=1.67, D+=1.33, D=1.00, F=0.00. Grades used to postpone or suspend course completion include I (incomplete), IP (In Progress) and W (withdrawn).

Grades for graduate work have a different meaning than those for other degrees. This department, in accord with most other programs, has adopted the following definition of the grades for all history graduate students:

A+: Work that approaches the quality of professional scholarship.

A: Outstanding, excellent work: demonstrates the potential for professional quality work.

A-: Very good work. High quality performance, but falls short of excellence.

B+: Good work. Solid effort, shows potential for higher achievement.

B: Needs improvement: reflects serious effort, but raises doubts about the potential for achieving professional quality, so students should consult with professors about how to improve their work, especially if they would like to enter a Ph.D. program.

B-: Marginal. A few positive qualities, but plagued by serious problems that must be immediately addressed.

C+  and below: unacceptable; does not count toward the degree.

This grading scale means that a good Ph.D. student should not be receiving grades lower than B+ on a regular basis, and most of their grades should be A's. If you are not doing this, it means that your professors believe that you lack the potential to produce professional quality work or are not putting forward the necessary effort, and thus you shold probably not pursue the Ph.D.

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative 3.00 (B) average. The Graduate School places any graduate student whose cumulative GPA drops below 3.00 on probation. Two consecutive semesters on probation will result in suspension, unless the department recommends otherwise and only if the Dean of the Graduate School accepts our recommendation.

The department will dismiss any student who makes a grade of B- or lower in six credits or more, except under exceptional circumstances. Grades lower than B- will not count toward the degree.

In Directed Readings courses, dissertation credits, and courses that do not count toward the degree, such as Independent Readings, students may potentially receive an S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), or IP (in progress). All other courses receive a letter grade or I for incomplete. However, an S or U is virtually always given for courses that do not count toward the degree, since it is not intended for the student to register for it again (see below). IP is the normal grade for dissertation credits before the semester of completion. After the student defends the dissertation successfully and receives an S for the final semester, the university automatically changes the all dissertation grades of IP to S.

You must complete work on any Incomplete (I) grade within 90 days from the end of the term in which it was received (see University Calendars) or the I will automatically become an F, regardless of whether or not you are enrolled. The instructor may allow extensions of 45 days for sufficient extenuating circumstances. If not removed before the end of the 45-day extension, the I will automatically become an F. It is very difficult to get a grade changed after it is entered, so be sure to meet the deadline or get an extension approved.

You should be aware that if the instructor gives you an IP in a Directed Readings course or a course that does not count toward the degree you must register (and pay) for the same number of credits in the same course for the next semester. After all work is completed, you will receive credit for the first course only. If you get an IP for dissertation credit (the normal grade until your final semester) you only have to sign up for one credit or more for each successive semester and will receive credit for all dissertation credits you take, up to the required twelve. You do not have to register for dissertation credit, or for another course in which you got an IP, in the summer.

The Graduate School will certify you when you meet all requirements, including the removal of all I or IP grades. If you have an I or IP in the semester in which you expect to graduate, you will not be able to graduate until the next term.