School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Grading System

The Senate approved the following official grading system comprising letter grades with pluses and minuses be implemented in May 2011.

Graduate students must attain a minimum grade of B- in all courses approved as part of their degree program.

The following criteria are used by instructors in the School of Policy Studies:

  • A grade of A or above is a mark of excellence and rare. Students who demonstrate superior understanding of the material may expect to receive a grade of A-.
  • A student who demonstrates competence in the accomplishment of class objectives should expect to receive a grade in the B to B+ range.
  • Students who show only an adequate grasp of the material may expect to receive a grade of B-.
  • Students who do not master important aspects of the material or fail to accomplish key objective should expect to receive a failing grade of C+ or less.
Letter Grade Grade Points Percentage Equivalents
  A+   4.3   90-100
  A   4.0   85-89.9
  A-   3.7   80-84.9
  B+   3.3   77-79.9
  B   3.0   73-76.9
  B-   2.7   70-72.9
  C+   2.3   67-69.9
  C   2.0   63-66.9
  C-   1.7   60-62.9
  D+   1.3   57-59.9
  D   1.0   53-56.9


  0.7   50-52.9

Failed Courses

Where a student does not achieve a final grade of B- in a course, the student may be allowed to take a repeat examination or assignment within two terms after the term in which the course was offered.

In cases of non-marginal failures and in cases where a student with a marginal failure has failed the repeat examination, the Program Director, after consulting with the course instructor and Student Progress Committee, may recommend to the Graduate Committee for Planning and Policy Programs that the student:

  1. repeat the examination or assessment exercise (as the case may be) within one year after the original examination or assessment took place; or,
  2. repeat the course; or,
  3. take a substitute course approved by the Graduate Committee for Planning and Policy Programs; or,
  4. be asked to withdraw from the Program.

The failed course and grade will not normally be removed from the transcript. Students failing two courses will be asked to withdraw from the Program.

If such a recommendation is not made by the Student Progress Committee or, if made, is not approved by the School of Graduate Studies, any student who fails to obtain the required standing in any of the primary courses shall be required to withdraw.

Grades are collected by the Program Coordinators and approved by the Program Directors (or the School's Director in his/her absence) before being reported to the School of Graduate Studies. The official transcript forms part of the student file.

The Student Progress Committees includes all regular faculty, all adjuncts teaching during a given academic year who have taught in a previous academic year and, in the Fall and Winter terms, all adjuncts teaching courses in the term in question. The committee reviews aggregate student performance in the Fall and Winter terms, and it is provided the information on students in academic difficulty, necessary to make a recommendation on the student's continuance in the program.

Incomplete Grades

All students are expected to meet assigned deadlines in the completion of course requirements. A student who is unable to meet an approaching deadline, due to serious medical or personal reasons, should immediately notify the course instructor. In such cases the instructor may agree to accept outstanding work by a later date.

Students with a disability that may affect their academic performance or who are facing serious medical or personal difficulties should see the appropriate counsellor at Queen's Health Counselling and Disability Services who will advise the School on any necessary accommodations including whether the student will need to negotiate longer deadlines for assignments.

If the agreed deadline for submission of outstanding work extends beyond the term in which the course is offered, the instructor will submit an "Incomplete" (IN) grade. The instructor should also provide a provisional mark for the student file that reflects the work actually completed by the student. If an incomplete grade is not replaced by a final grade before the end of the term following the term in which the course was offered, the School of Graduate studies will automatically change the “incomplete” grade to a “failure”. In extenuating circumstances, on the request of the instructor, the Program Director may recommend for consideration by the School of Graduate Studies that this deadline be extended.

All outstanding work must be submitted before the start of the next academic year. Students with incomplete grades will not normally be permitted to register for the next academic year. If the missing work is not submitted by the end of August, the School of Policy Studies may report the provisional grade as the final mark for the course. This could mean a failing grade. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the Program Director, who may consult the Student Progress Committee before making a decision.