General Grade Point Average (GPA) Policy


It is the policy of the Health Science Center to use a standard method for calculating student grade point averages.


There is no method externally imposed on the Health Science Center for calculation of grade point averages. However, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools specified that an institution “must publish its grading policies and its grading practices must be consistent with policy.”

“GPA” is the abbreviation used to designate “Grade Point Average.”


Credit Hours

This number is listed in both the schedule of classes and the catalog and represents the hours assigned to a course for credit towards a certificate or degree. Typically the number ranges from 1.0 to 9.0.

Grade Value

The numerical value assigned to a grade: A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point, F = 0 points.

Grade Points

Credit hours for a course times the grade value.

Attempted Hours

Credit hours associated with a course a student was registered for as of the first official day of class, regardless of final outcome or grade.

Earned Hours

Credit hours for a class that is successfully completed (see individual schools’ grading systems).


When the course in which the student received a substandard grade is repeated and the last grade earned, whether higher or lower than the original grade, is calculated in the student GPA.


This is the process by which a student corrects a failing grade in a class either by taking a national board exam or other standardized exam specific to the program, or repeating the class in the subsequent term to resolve the substandard grade.


All students must gain approval to audit classes. Auditing generally includes attendance at scheduled lectures or seminars of a class without access to supplemental instruction including labs and discussions. Supplemental instructional materials such as syllabi, online reading and podcasts may not be available. Formal grades are not awarded, although registered students will have the class notated on their transcripts with a grade of “AU.” For additional information, see the Policy on Auditing Courses in this Catalog.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A grade point average is calculated by assigning the following numerical weight to each letter grade:

A = 4

B = 3

C = 2

D = 1

F = 0

When courses are repeated for credit, previous grades for the same courses are excluded from GPA calculations, whether or not they were failing, and whether or not they were better than the grade ultimately earned.

Term GPA

This is the GPA calculated for coursework taken within one semester or, as is the case for the School of Dentistry (students seeking a D.D.S.) and Long School of Medicine (students seeking an M.D.), within one academic year.

Cumulative GPA

This is the overall GPA calculated across a student’s education within a career (e.g. certificate, undergraduate, Master’s doctoral or professional career).


  1. The grade and credit earned for any course taken by a student at Health Science Center will become part of the student’s permanent record and will be used in the computation of the University grade point average (GPA).

    1. Program GPA will be reflected on the transcript as part of the program completion information
    2. Cumulative Grade Point Average is used for graduation certification
    3. Degrees cannot be conferred with any incomplete grade of “I”, “IP”, or no grade on the student’s records. Incomplete grades or In progress grades are not included in the cumulative GPA until the correct grade has been entered.
    4. When a course is repeated, the last grade earned will be counted for grade point average calculations unless the course is designated as repeatable for credit.
  2. Term Grade Point Average (TGPA) is derived by multiplying the credit hours of each attempted course by the quality-point value of the grade earned for that course, adding those amounts, then dividing by the total number of credit hours attempted for each term. All grade point averages are carried to two decimal points and rounded to the nearest one hundredth of a point. The grade point average may range from 0.00 to 4.00.

Example Student Transcript 

Course Credit Hours Grade Grade Points
Biology 3 A (4 points) 12
Research 1 B (3 points) 3
Clinical Skills 3 C (2 points) 6
Ethics 3 F (0 points) 0
10 Total Credit Hours Attempted 21 Total Grade Points

To calculate the example student’s GPA, the total grade points (21) are divided by the total credit hours attempted (10) = 2.10.


Student GPAs appear on unofficial and official transcripts and advisement reports. A transcript shows separate GPAs for each “career” a student was or is enrolled in. These careers include the following:

  • Advanced Dental Education Post-professional
  • Dental School Graduate
  • Dental School Professional
  • Dental School Undergraduate
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Graduate
  • Health Professions Graduate
  • Health Professions Undergraduate
  • School of Medicine Graduate
  • School of Medicine Professional
  • School of Nursing Graduate
  • School of Nursing Undergraduate

The cumulative University GPA for an undergraduate includes all work undertaken at the University for which a letter grade is recorded, provided letter grades were appropriate and designated. Undergraduate courses in which grades associated with other than A, B, C, D, and F are recorded are not included in GPA calculation. Credit earned by examination, correspondence, or extension is not included in calculation of a student's GPA.

Both Term and Cumulative GPAs appear in designated areas on students’ transcripts. Students and/or alumni can obtain GPAs in one of two ways:

  1. Current students may obtain GPAs by accessing their unofficial transcripts through My Student Center via
  2. Current students and alumni may request official transcripts to review this information. A $10 fee is assessed per transcript.

Requests for current and former students grades and term or cumulative GPAs will not be honored over the phone or by email. Students must access these through My Student Center via and the unofficial transcripts available there.


Ranks are generated yearly and following remediation of failed grades for the following schools only:

  1. School of Dentistry 
  2. Long School of Medicine

Ranks are utilized for the purpose of applying to post-doctoral residency programs and, in some cases, receiving honors and scholarships. Please see the specific school sections in this Catalog for more information.

Requests for ranks will not be honored over the phone. Former and current students must submit a written request with the name on record at the Health Science Center, last term attended and month and day of birth date by letter or email generated from their Livemail email accounts to Requests will be honored within five business days.