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Grading at Olin 

(from Academic Policies)


Grading Rules and Regulations

Incomplete Policy

Extra Help

Grade Change Policy

Final Exam Policy for Excused Absences

Student Academic Performance

Class Standing



Standards-based Grading: Course grading at Olin will be based on student progress toward defined course goals. Summary metrics (e.g., GPA) will be provided on the student’s transcript, but relative summary metrics (e.g., class rank) are neither published nor tabulated. The Dean of Faculty will annually conduct a review of grade distributions and grading procedures.

Grading Rules and Regulations

1. Privacy: Olin will not publicly post either grades or summary metrics (e.g., GPAs) in any form that allows identification of any particular individual’s performance. It is expected that students will respect the privacy of each other’s grades.

2. Grading Clarity Requirements: On the first day of instruction, each Olin class will publish the following information: a. Learning Objectives that specify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students are expected to develop or attain in the class. The learning objectives should be an effective instrument for students to understand what they will learn and how their learning will be evaluated. b. Grading Criteria that specify how the final course grade is determined. Some aspects of grading are necessarily based on the professional judgment of instructors, informed by their experience, and are subjective.

3. Feedback: Olin expects instructors to provide students with feedback on their performance. If an instructor feels a student will not pass a course, or if the instructor is otherwise concerned about a student’s performance, she or he will issue a notice of academic concern in a timely manner. Copies of this notice will be sent to the student, the student’s faculty adviser, and the Assistant Dean of Student Life for Advising.

4. End of Semester Feedback to the Adviser: Olin advisers have real-time access to advisees’ course grades. In addition, instructors will notify advisers of any significant concerns noted during the semester. 

5. Pass/No Record First Semester: In the first semester, first-year, Olin instructors may report the student’s grade to the student and to the adviser, but will report only a grade of Pass (P) or No Record (NR) to the Registrar. A grade of No Record does not affect the student’s GPA. In subsequent semesters, Olin instructors will report the student’s final course grade, according to the scale outlined below, to the Registrar.

6. Course Grades: Course grades at Olin provide students, their advisers, potential employers and graduate schools information about overall performance. Course grades are determined based upon a mix of demonstrated comprehension, skill, participation, and effort. 

7. Grading Scale: The Olin College grading scheme contains letter grades with a resulting grade point average (GPA) on a four-point scale. Students will be assessed using the following interpretation:

Grade Assessment


Point Value























Credit (for non-degree course activity)








Experimental Grading






Incomplete (temporary grade)



Incomplete Failing



Incomplete/Leave of Absence



In Progress



Leave/No Record



No Credit for Pass/No Credit Options



No Credit (for non-degree course activity)



No Grade Reported by Instructor (temporary grade)



No Passionate Pursuit Recognition



No Record






Passionate Pursuit Recognition



Course Repeated



Transfer Credit



Withdrew from Course



8. Experimental Grading: The ‘EG’ grade represents an “Experimental Grade” designation, implemented in a small number of courses during a curricular experiment that began in 2009. Each student may undertake no more than one “EG” course per semester. An ‘EG’ grade in a student’s transcript indicates that a student completed the course’s learning objectives and received instructor feedback based upon criteria that do not have direct mapping onto the ABCDF grading system. Students who do not complete the learning objectives will receive a “no credit” designation on their transcript (similar to the “no credit” option for pass/no credit courses).

9. Repeated Courses: If a student retakes a course at Olin the original grade will remain, but will not be factored into the student’s GPA. The new grade will appear on the transcript in the semester in which the course was retaken. There is no guarantee that any course will be offered for a student to repeat, as in the case of, but not limited to, Special Topics courses. Repeated courses may be used in Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Pace of Progression calculations.

10. Minimally Sufficient Grades: A grade of D, EG, or Pass is sufficient to earn credit for a course. A grade of D or EG is sufficient to satisfy a course requirement. A grade of C-, EG, or Pass is sufficient to satisfy a prerequisite requirement.

11. Pass/No Credit: Up to 12 credits of a student’s distribution requirements may be satisfied by taking classes that are usually offered for grades, as Pass/No Credit. In such cases, a Pass is given for performance equivalent to a grade of C- or higher. Courses taken Pass/No Credit may not be used to meet course requirements unless the course is not offered for grades or is taken in the first semester of the first year. Courses that are only offered Pass/No Credit, Independent Study and Research do not count toward the 12 credit limit. Students must declare their Pass/No Credit grading option by the drop date of each semester. The Pass/No Credit option does not impact the GPA; either Pass or No Credit will appear on the transcript. Once a student decides to take a course Pass/No Credit, he or she cannot revert back to receive a letter grade. 

12. Passionate Pursuits: Passionate Pursuits are non-degree credit, and will be listed on the transcript if the nature of the activity and the level of completion are sufficient to merit credit.

13. The Olin Transcript: A student’s academic transcript at Olin includes the following information:

a. A list of classes the student took in each semester, and a record of the student’s final grade in those classes. First-semester first-year transcripts will show only classes that were passed. Classes taken Pass/No Credit after the first year appear either as a Pass or as a No Credit.

b. The student’s GPA.

c. A list of non-degree activities taken each semester with a cumulative total of credits earned. There are no grades associated with non-degree activities.

d. Co-Curricular offerings in which the sponsoring staff or faculty member reported sufficient student participation for a transcript notation. 

14. Grading and Credits of Cross-Registered Courses: Olin students who cross-register for a course at Babson, Brandeis, or Wellesley will receive credit for the course if they receive a passing grade. All grades will be recorded on their transcript and be factored into their grade point average. Credits from these schools will be counted on a one for one basis at Olin. For example, if a three credit course is taken at Babson, it will count as three Olin credits. A one unit Brandeis or Wellesley course is equal to four Olin credits. Courses that use other accounting schemes may be translated into equivalent Olin credits rounded to the closest integer. 

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Incomplete Policy

In extenuating circumstances, a student may request an Incomplete (I) grade by petitioning the Dean of Student Life. If an Incomplete grade is approved, the student will be granted an extension period to complete the coursework. The period of the extension will be determined by the Dean of Student Life in consult with the instructor and student. A grade of I will be listed as a temporary grade and will not affect the grade point average. If the work is not completed by the approved deadline, the incomplete grade of I will be changed to IF, Incomplete Failing, or an alternate grade upon approval of the instructor and the Dean of Faculty. An IF grade does affect a grade point average. An Incomplete is generally approved only when some specific event or illness prevents the student from completing a specific part of the course (such as completing a paper, project or exam).

An Incomplete will not be approved in instances where a student is demonstrating an overall difficulty covering or understanding the course materials and appears to need more time or additional instruction to learn the material. If such general difficulty occurs the student should discuss available options with his or her course instructor and adviser.  Incomplete Grade Request Form

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Extra Help

For all courses, faculty members provide extra help for students as appropriate. In addition, individual tutors are assigned by the Office of Student Life. Students who feel that individual tutoring would be helpful to them should contact the Assistant Dean of Student Life for Advising as early in the semester as the need becomes apparent.

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Grade Change Policy

Students wishing to dispute a grade should first have a discussion with the instructing faculty member. If the student and faculty are in disagreement after the discussion, the student may appeal to the Dean of Faculty. The Dean of Faculty will meet with the student within 14 days of the appeal and will solicit a statement from the faculty member. Following this process, the Dean of Faculty will review the case and submit a recommendation to the faculty member. The faculty member will then make a final decision, in consultation with the Dean of Faculty. After one calendar year (from the end of the original grading period), all grades are final. All grade changes must be made in writing and signed by the Dean of Faculty.

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Final Exam Policy for Excused Absences

Students who are unable to take their final exams for legitimate reasons and wish to request a makeup exam generally must obtain advance authorization from the instructing faculty members and the Office of Student Life. In the event that advance authorization cannot be obtained due to extenuating circumstances, students should contact the Office of Student Life and the instructor(s) as soon as they are able. If the exam is not completed prior to the end of the grading period, a grade of I, Incomplete, will be recorded on the student record. An incomplete grade is a temporary grade that does not affect a grade point average.

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Student Academic Performance

The Committee on Student Academic Performance uses the following guidelines in determining the academic status of students. Students not in Good Academic Standing will be placed on probation. Students not in Good Academic Standing for two consecutive semesters will be reviewed by the committee and may be required to withdraw. The committee may consider extenuating circumstances in applying these general guidelines. NOTE: In accordance with federal regulations of Title IV Financial Aid Program Integrity Standards, the Financial Aid Office will review academic performance in accordance with the performance measures listed below and will include an overall pace of progression standard. See the financial aid section for more information.

Qualitative Measure of Academic Performance:

Student’s First Semester: Good Academic Standing is defined as receiving Pass grades in all courses by the start of the second semester. Subsequent Semesters: Good Academic Standing is defined as having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 by the end of the semester.

Quantitative Measure of Academic Performance:

In order to complete the degree in four years (eight semesters), each student will normally take 16 credits (four courses) per semester. Olin College expects students to make reasonable progress toward their degree each semester. As a result, to remain in good standing a student must complete a minimum of 12 degree credits each semester. The Committee on Student Academic Performance will review this quantitative measure in addition to the qualitative measure of a minimum grade point average.

Academic Readmission

In making decisions on readmission petitions, the Committee on Student Academic Performance (COSAP) will expect the former student to produce timely evidence of good academic performance in college courses comparable to Olin courses, employment and/or community service references, and a formal statement explaining changes that will contribute to their academic success at Olin. Credit for courses taken elsewhere while a student is withdrawn from Olin will be transferable to Olin only if approval is obtained from the CSTB prior to enrollment in each course.

Program Group Recommendations

The Program Groups (ECE, ME, E) will periodically review the progress of every student with a declared major. The program groups will work with students and their faculty adviser if performance in program specific course requirements is unsatisfactory or if trends indicate that such performance may become unsatisfactory.

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Class Standing

Class standing is determined by the number of degree credits a student has earned in relation to the 120 required for graduation. The following table is a breakdown of earned degree credits and their corresponding class year and represents a reasonable expectation of progress toward a degree over four years.

Class Earned Degree Credits
First-Year 0-30
Sophomore 31-60
Junior 61-90
Senior  >90

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