Grading and Credit Policies

The University confers graduate degrees upon candidates who meet the requirements designated by the appropriate graduate committees, the Graduate Council, and the faculty.

Grading Policies


Candidates for graduate degrees are required to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in course work counted toward the degree. A grade below C- is not accepted by the University toward a graduate degree. Departments may have additional grade restrictions that must be maintained. These restrictions will be explained in the department’s handbook. Requests to transfer credits or use credits earned as a non-matriculated student towards a graduate degree have a higher grade requirement.


Graduate students are granted the option, subject to approval by their major department and review by the dean of The Graduate School, to enroll in some courses in which they will be graded on a credit/no-credit (CR/NC) rather than on a letter-grade basis.
The intent of the CR/NC option is to free students to extend their studies to areas outside their major or specialty and to take classes they otherwise might not take if they had to compete with majors for a letter grade. The following apply to taking classes CR/NC:

  1. During the first year in The Graduate School, the student, with departmental approval, may register for one class each semester on a CR/NC basis.
  2. Of the first year’s work, courses taken for CR/NC grades may not exceed approximately 25 percent of the student’s total credits and generally should be less than 25 percent. In some cases, especially if the student plans to do doctoral work, the director of graduate studies or chair of the student’s supervisory committee may determine it is desirable that all classes the first year be taken for letter grades. If so, the program should be outlined accordingly.
  3. After the first year in The Graduate School, the student may request permission from the director of graduate studies to register for more than one class per semester on a CR/NC basis.
  4. Each department has flexibility to plan the best possible program with the student. Whether the student is in the first year or advanced stages of the program, the choice of courses to be taken CR/NC is subject to the approval of the director of graduate studies or chair acting on behalf of the student’s department.
  5. Students may not elect to register for CR/NC courses in their major departments unless a course in the major department is offered only on a CR/NC basis.
  6. All courses earning credit of one hour are graded on a CR/NC basis, unless use of regular letter grades is approved by the Graduate Council.
  7. Graduate students should earn a grade of C- or better to be entitled to ‘credit.’ Students who do not wish to register for credit, either for a letter grade or CR/NC, should audit the course.
  8. Graduate students enrolled in a class for CR/NC may change to a letter grade any time before the Monday of the last week of classes. Graduate students are cautioned that it is important they receive letter grades in order to build a graduate GPA. This is especially important if students apply for fellowships or traineeships on a competitive basis or later transfer to another institution.

Credit Policies


University of Utah students may be allowed to select for graduate credit certain graduate-level courses (5000 level or above) taken while enrolled as an undergraduate student. Such graduate credit is limited to six semester hours or two courses. Credit used to earn the undergraduate degree may not be counted toward a graduate degree. Students are encouraged to seek advance approval of the dean of The Graduate School on an Undergraduate Petition for Graduate Credit form available in the Registrar’s Office and on The Graduate School website. However, if a student seeks retroactive graduate credit for courses taken as an undergraduate, permission may be granted only if a grade of B or better was earned in the specified courses and if the courses were taken no more than three years prior to the petition.


Undergraduate students in combined BS/MS programs are allowed to select up to 12 credit hours of graduate-level courses (5000 level or above) taken while still classified as an undergraduate student to be used in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the graduate degree. Questions regarding this procedure should be directed to the Registrar’s Office or your departmental advisor.

  1. Requested courses will remain on the undergraduate record but will be recorded as graduate credit to be used toward the graduate degree. Graduate credit may only be granted if a B or better was earned in the specified courses and not counted towards any undergraduate requirements. Only one request is eligible for consideration.
  2. Courses used to earn the undergraduate degree may not be used toward a graduate degree, nor may courses used to earn the graduate degree be used toward an undergraduate degree.
  3.  Students who exit a combined BS/MS program cannot use requested graduate credits toward an undergraduate degree. The students are not guaranteed acceptance of all credits toward a future graduate degree.
  4. Combined BS/MS program candidates are responsible for registering for remaining undergraduate courses in their undergraduate career and graduate courses in their graduate career.


  1. Complete this “Request for Graduate Credit in BS/MS Program” form & obtain Graduate Advisor approval.
  2.  Return this request to the Registrar’s Office, Graduation Division, during your first semester as a matriculated graduate student.
  3.  Allow up to 4 weeks to be reviewed & check your Degree Audit or Unofficial Transcripts to determine if graduate credit has been awarded.


Graduate credit may be transferred from other regionally-accredited institutions. Credits transferred from another institution may be used for only one degree. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements if they are of high letter grade (B or higher; ‘credit only’ grades are unacceptable), are recommended by the student’s supervisory committee, and were taken within four years of semester of admission to the University of Utah for master’s students and within seven years of semester of admission to the University of Utah for doctoral students.

Graduate Transfer Credit Authorization


No candidate for a graduate degree is permitted to register for more than 16 credit hours in any single semester. A schedule of nine credit hours is considered a full load for master’s and doctoral degree candidates.


Credit earned by nonmatriculated students may or may not apply to a graduate degree program. Graduate programs are designed and approved by faculty committees assigned to supervise each graduate student. Decisions on accepting course credit are made initially by these supervisory committees. Only nine semester hours of nonmatriculated credit, taken no more than three year prior to approval, can be applied toward a graduate degree. Exception to either of these requirements must be requested by the department chair or supervisory committee chair and approved by the dean of The Graduate School. AOCE Ulearn Independent Study (formerly correspondence or home-study) courses are eligible for graduate credit with department approval. Students may not register for CR/NC courses in their major departments unless a course in the major department is offered only on a CR/NC basis. (See also Credit/No-Credit Grading earlier in this section.)


Courses numbered 6000 and above are considered graduate-level. Courses numbered 5000 to 5999 can count toward graduate degrees. Courses numbered 3000 to 4999 are upper-division (junior and senior) courses and are considered undergraduate-level. Those numbered 1000 to 2999 are lower-division (freshman and sophomore) courses and are considered undergraduate-level.