Academic Standing

Academic Standing

As part of Howard’s community of scholars, you are expected to hold the pursuit of learning and the search for truth in the highest regard while displaying unquestionable integrity and honesty. There is no place for academic dishonesty, regardless of any seeming advantage or gain that may accrue from such dishonesty. Students will be disciplined for any intentional act(s) of dishonesty in the fulfillment of academic course or program requirements and for intentionally representing as one’s own, any ideas, writings and works of another without acknowledging that author.


The minimum disciplinary penalty imposed upon a student found to have committed any infraction(s) of the Academic Code of Conduct is no credit for the course assignment or examination in which the infraction(s) occurred. However, a more severe penalty, such as failure in the course involved or suspension from the University may be imposed depending upon the nature and extent of the infraction(s).


All officially enrolled students are expected to attend classes regularly and promptly. Students who are absent from classes or laboratory periods are responsible for the entire work of the course. Any student who does not take a scheduled midterm or final examination must obtain the approval of his or her instructor in order to take a substitute examination. A student who does not secure such approval will receive a grade of zero for the examination missed.


The following grading system is used at Howard except where otherwise indicated in the school/college bulletins:

A - excellent 90 and above
B - good, 80 - 89
C - fair, 70 - 79
D - poor, 60 - 69
F - failure less than 60
W - official withdrawal (no grade value and not calculated)
UW - unofficial withdrawal (no grade value and not calculated)
I - incomplete (grade following I/ calculated)

Required courses in which you receive failing grades must be repeated. Incomplete grades may be assigned ONLY to students who, as a result of circumstances beyond their control (e.g., illness or family emergency) are unable to complete their coursework. Although the student initiates the request for an incomplete grade

, the decision to assign an incomplete grade rests solely with the instructor. If the student’s request is approved, the instructor establishes and submits specific “make-up” conditions on an Incomplete Grade Processing Form (IGPF). Each incomplete designation (“I”) must be accompanied by an alternative grade (“B,” “C,” “D,” or “F”). The alternative grade will become the permanent grade, if the incomplete is not removed.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Your grade point average is a summary of your academic record.

The grade point value is determined by multiplying the number of credits (also called hours) a course yields by the grade received for the course. Grades yield points as follows: A = 4; B = 3; C = 2; D = 1; F = 0; W, AD, P, S, U, and UW (not calculated).

The semester grade point average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the number of semester grade points earned by the number of credits attempted for the semester. For example, student attempts five courses totaling 13 credits for the semester, and receives grades as follows:

Course 1 (3 credits) — “A”          Course 2 (3 credits) — “B”

Course 3 (2 credits) — “B”          Course 4 (1 credit) — “C”

Course 5 (4 credits) — “D”.

 Total semester grade points earned for courses 1 through 5 are respectively: (3 x 4) + (3 x 3) + (2 x 3) + (1 x 2) + (4 x 1) = (12 + 9 + 6 + 2 + 4) = 33. Semester GPA = 33 ÷ 13 = 2.54.

Course Number




Grade Yield Points 


Grade Point Value

(C x G)

1 3 A 4 3 x 4 = 12
2 B 3 3 x 3 = 9
3 2 B 3 2 x 3 = 6
4 1 C 2 1 x 2 = 2
5 4 D 1 4 x 1 = 4
Totals 13     33

The cumulative (or overall) GPA is determined by dividing the number of cumulative (or total) grade points earned at Howard University (including grade points for the most recent grading period) by the cumulative (i.e., total) number of credits attempted at Howard University . For example, student previously attempted 65 credits at Howard University and earned 160 grade points with an old cumulative GPA of 160 ÷ 65 = 2.46. The new cumulative number of credits attempted at Howard University = 65 + 13 = 78; and the new cumulative grade points earned = 160 + 33 = 193. The new cumulative GPA = 193 ÷ 78 = 2.47.

The grade point average is computed for all courses not officially canceled that have been taken and/or repeated in the student’s program of study.

NOTE: ALL INCOMPLETE GRADES (other than grades for Thesis & Research) must be completed by the student no later than the last day of classes of the semester in which the student is next in residence. (Instructors must submit Special Grade Reports for removing incomplete grades by the last day of the semester.)

At the end of each semester, semester grades are available to students via the BisonWeb. Semester grades will be mailed to parents when authorized by student.

Pass/Fail Regulation

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a cumulative average of 2.0 or higher who enroll in at least 12 semester hours per semester, may elect, in addition, one course each semester in a department outside their major and minor sequence under the pass-fail arrangement. This pass-fail arrangement is not available to students in fulfilling hours in general education, but is restricted to electives exclusively. Through this arrangement a student will receive a passing designation if his/her work in the course rates as .“D” or better and a failing designation if his/her work in the course rates below “D”.

 Except for students in the School of Business, courses passed under the pass-fail system will count towards graduation requirements. FAILING GRADES WILL BE INDICATED ON THE ACADEMIC RECORD; however, neither the passing grade nor failing grade will be computed in the grade point average. Students electing a course on a pass-fail basis cannot change later to regular grade basis for the particular course. Until further notice the Pass-Fail Regulation is on an experimental basis and is reviewed annually.


Auditing a course consists of attending classes and listening without responsibility. All auditors must be admitted to the University and go through the regular registration process. Tuition for audited classes is the same as for classes taken for credit. An auditor is not responsible for any assignment or examination. No credit may be earned in an audited course by examination or otherwise. Classes taken on an audit basis will appear on the official academic record.

Course Repeats

  1. An undergraduate student may repeat only once a course for which he/she has received a grade of “D” or “F”. The lower grade will not be counted in the computation of the GPA.
  2. Exceptions to repeating a course more than once will be made only if it is a major or minor requirement for which the minimum grade of “C” is required, or if a student is ineligible to advance to the next level without a passing grade. All subsequent repeats, after the first one, will be counted in computing the GPA.
  3. In all course repeats, the failing or previous grade is not expunged from the academic record.
  4. Students are not eligible to graduate with honors if they have repeated a course(s); they have not carried at least 12 credits for each semester enrolled, with the exception of the last semester in residence, and they have not completed the last half of the work required for their degree in residence at Howard University.

SPECIAL NOTE: In all cases of Course Repeats the failing or previous grade is NOT expunged from the academic record.

Honors Programs

Special Honors Programs are offered in the School of Business, School of Communications, and College of Arts and Sciences. These programs offer intensified study in selected courses to students who are formally in the program.

Academic Status

Academic status categories include good standing, probation, and suspension. The Board of Trustees approved revisions in the probation, suspension, and readmission regulations of the undergraduate schools and colleges in June 1998 (please see undergraduate readmission information on the Admission site).

Advanced Placement (AP) Credit

Entering students may receive credit for work completed in secondary school under the Advanced Placement Program administered by the College Board. In order to be considered for credit, you must submit AP test results to your dean or advisory center. In each subject for which credit is sought, a minimum score of 3 is required (some subjects may require scores of 4 or 5).