Grading deadlines are set by faculty policy. Midterm and final grading policies are found in the Faculty Handbook and Amherst College Catalog. Directions for how to submit grades as well as grading deadlines for the current academic year are available on the website of the Office of the Registrar. 

Midterm Grades

Starting the sixth week of each semester, faculty should submit midterm grades for students who are on track to receive D or F letter grades in their courses. The class deans need this information to support students throughout the second half of the semester. If faculty are concerned about students who are on track to earn a grade higher than D, they should communicate their concern to the class dean directly.

Practical Note: Faculty are sometimes reluctant to submit a midterm warning grade out of concern that it will be perceived by the student as a vote of no confidence. But this is precisely the method by which a student can garner the support needed for the remainder of the semester. We consider a warning grade a sign of care, and we consider the outreach we provide in response to a warning grade to be the extension of a helping hand, not a slap on the wrist.

Final Grades

Fall semester final grades are due by noon on the date published on the registrar’s website. Spring semester final grades are due no later than 9:00 a.m. on the Monday after the last day of exams for graduating seniors and all E class students participating in commencement. All other final grades for students not graduating are due on the Wednesday after the last day of exams.

How to: Assign interim (midterm) grades

How to: Assign or change final grades

Completion of Work and Policy on Extensions

Extensions that do not extend beyond the last day of exams are negotiated between the student and the professor. Extensions beyond the final day of exams require: permission of the student’s class dean, a new deadline for submission of the work determined in consultation with the class dean, and a default grade (the grade the student would receive for the semester in the unlikely event that they receive zeroes on the late work). Students will not be allowed to register or participate in add/drop for the subsequent term unless all grades from their previous semester are recorded by the registrar.

Shortly after the beginning of each semester, final exams are scheduled after faculty notify the Office of the Registrar of the type and length (two or three hours) of the exam(s) they are electing.

Practical Note: Instructors are only obliged to grant extensions to final exams in rare cases relating to certain officially approved accommodations. Such exceptions should be determined in consultation with the instructor, class dean, and, when appropriate, Accessibility Services. Rarely, faculty may elect to grant extensions/makeup exams in other circumstances, but are discouraged from doing so in cases in which extensions have not been discussed prior to the deadline/exam. Such extensions require consultation with the class dean.

Grades and GPA

In spring 2021, the faculty approved a new grading scale. The grade of A+ is still assignable, but now has the same weight as an A for calculations of GPA and class rank. The faculty has also adopted a 4.00 GPA system. The Office of the Registrar will provide a numerical GPA to students or their advisor upon request. The registrar will also verify student GPAs for graduate school, fellowship, or academic award applications.

Grades in courses are reported in three categories:

  1. Passing Grades = A+, A, A–, B+, B, B–, C+, C, C–, D, P
  2. Failing Grade = F
  3. Incomplete Grades = I

Term averages and cumulative averages are reported on a 4.0-point scale rounded to the nearest whole number letter grade. The conversion equivalents are:

A+ = 4.00, A = 4.00, A– = 3.67, B+ = 3.33, B = 3.00, B– = 2.67, C+ = 2.33, C = 2.00, C– = 1.67, D+ = 1.33, D = 1, D- = 0.67, F = 0.

The grade of P (pass) does not affect a student’s average. 

Pass-Fail (P/F) Grading Option

The aim of the pass-fail (P/F) option is to encourage students to take intellectual risks, to explore the breadth of Amherst’s open curriculum, and to reward students for engaging fully in all their courses. Under this option, students may elect to declare one course per semester, and no more than four courses over four years, to be taken pass-fail. A declaration of pass-fail requires the permission of the student’s advisor(s) and must be made before the first day of the exam period. If a student designates a course pass-fail, the student’s transcript will have a “P” recorded in the case of passing grades (“D” or higher). No grade-point equivalent will be assigned to a “P.” If the letter grade assigned by the instructor is an “F,” an “F” will be recorded on the student’s transcript and will count toward the student’s GPA and class rank. Once students have declared a course pass-fail, they cannot later opt for the grade. Students admitted as first-year students may elect the pass-fail option four times during their Amherst College career. Transfer students admitted as sophomores may elect pass-fail up to three times, and those admitted as juniors up to two times.

First-year seminars may not be taken pass-fail. Departments and programs may decide not to accept courses taken on a pass-fail basis in fulfillment of major requirements. Each department’s and program’s policy on accepting pass-fail grades toward major requirements must be included in the Amherst College Catalog and in other departmental and program materials.

The FGO has been discontinued by the faculty. Any use of the flexible grading option (FGO) in spring 2020 and one use of the FGO in each term of the 2020­–2021 academic year will not count toward the maximum number of pass-fails allowed during a student’s time at the college. Pass-fails or FGOs used prior to spring 2020, or in addition to the one allowed in each term of 2020–2021, will count against each student’s allotted number of pass-fails, as defined above.

Practical Note: Pass/Fail requires only advisor(s) approval. In our experience, however, it can be useful for the student to share this information with their  instructor and class dean. Benefits to sharing this information include allowing the instructor to discuss with the student a plan for success in the course, including how electing the pass/fail option might fit into such a plan. We are trying to capture three things here: 1) students who could benefit from pass/fail with faculty who are flexible in the requirements to complete a course; 2) Faculty who may be needlessly worrying about a student with lower passing grades; and 3) students who are doing fine and do not need a pass/fail but are considering it.

Process for Changing a Grade

The process for changing a grade that has been submitted to the Registrar’s Office begins with the instructor of the course. If the student feels there has been an error in how the grade was calculated or if the grading process did not adhere to the expectations outlined in the syllabus, the student may appeal to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. (See Student Code of Conduct-The Resolution of Student Grievances with a Member of the Faculty). It is not allowed for a student to submit additional work, complete missed assignments, redo past assignments, or call for a different set of evaluation criteria in order to change and already submitted grade. If the instructor agrees to make a grade change, the following steps should be followed:

  • The instructor logs into Workday and selects “Change of Grade Request” from the menu.
  • The instructor selects from a drop-down list of rosters (the list includes only courses taught within one academic year).
  • From the roster, the instructor selects the student and enters the new requested grade.
  • The reason for the change is entered in a comment field.
  • Once the instructor clicks “submit,” a series of emails are sent to the chief student affairs officer, the registrar, the associate registrar, and two administrators in the Offices of the Chief Student Affairs Officer and the Provost and Dean of the Faculty.
  • Once the chief student affairs officer approves, an email is sent to the provost/dean of the faculty for approval.
  • Once the provost/dean approves, the grade is changed by the Office of the Registrar, and all parties above are notified.

If either party denies the request, the grade is not changed by the registrar, and all parties are notified of the outcome.