Grade Options

When registering for courses, Brown students must indicate whether they are taking a course for a grade (G) or satisfactory/no credit (S/NC). Students may change their grade option for a course online during the first four weeks of the semester. No grade option changes are allowed after the first four weeks of any semester.

A small number of courses are designated by their instructors as mandatory S/NC. Such courses cannot be taken for a grade, and are indicated with an asterisk on both the internal academic record and the official transcript. If a student has done extraordinarily well in a course taken S/NC -- defined by the Faculty Rules as equivalent to an A, the course instructor may give a grade of S with Distinction. S with Distinction grades are not recorded on the Brown transcript or the internal academic record. They do count toward eligibility requirements for Phi Beta Kappa and College honors at graduation. The Registrar's office maintains a list of S with Distinction grades for these purposes.

In keeping with the spirit of the open curriculum, Brown does not compute students' Grade Point Averages. Students who have questions about how to complete applications for external opportunities (e.g. graduate or professional school, fellowships) are encouraged to consult with an academic dean. 

Petition for Late Grade Option Change

Grade option changes after the four-week deadline are allowed only in cases of serious illness or family emergency at the time of the deadline, or in cases of clerical errors corrected within a week of notification of the error. The list below suggests the range of explanations that do not constitute grounds for a late request to change a grade option. This list is representative but not exhaustive.

• accidental or intentional neglect of published deadline
• missing of deadline for less than extraordinary medical reasons
• missing of deadline by reason of personal difficulties
• missing of deadline because of failed travel connections
• provision of incorrect information on original request (e.g., student identification number, course code, or section data)
• illegibility of submitted registration materials
• lack of information on course performance at time of original request • concern that an expected or received grade will affect chances for honors, admission to graduate or professional schools, or prize awards • desire to improve one’s GPA
• illness or other personal difficulties that arise after the deadline
• failure to respond, within one week of mailing date, to error messages and confirmations of registration mailed by the Registrar

The Committee on Academic Standing has authorized its Chair to review all requests for late changes in grade option and to determine whether the full Committee should hear a petition. Such petitions must be made via email to [email protected].

In reviewing appeals to reverse a student’s grade option selection, the Chair considers the rationale for a student’s grade option selection as envisioned by the planners of the Brown curriculum. The Chair also weighs factors such as the widespread publication of deadlines for changes in grade option, the College’s consistent adherence to this deadline, and students’ ability to access their registration record online anywhere are anytime. It is the Committee’s clear expectation that the Chair will disallow the vast majority of petitions. The judgment of the Chair is final and is not subject to appeal.

Course Performance Reports

In addition to the two grade options at Brown, students may request narrative evaluations of their performance from their course instructors. These course performance reports provide valuable information to students about their success in meeting course learning objectives, especially for courses graded S/NC. Any student regularly enrolled in a course may request a Course Performance Report (CPR) online in ASK and, at the instructor’s discretion, receive one. Instructors of mandatory S/NC courses are obliged to honor such requests. For all other courses, instructors may decline to submit such a form if they believe they have inadequate information to do so. Students are required to request CPRs before the end of the term. They begin the process by completing the student portion of the CPR form, which is then forwarded to the instructor of record (the instructor may delegate completion of the form to a colleague, such as a graduate student instructor or co-instructor). If an instructor agrees to honor a student's request for a CPR after the end of the semester, the student should email [email protected] with the name of the course and evidence that the instructor has agreed to write a CPR after the end of the semester. A member of the College can enter an override along with a new CPR deadline, and the student will then be able to request the CPR via ASK. 

Course Audits

Auditing a course allows students to take a course without any grade notation on the transcript. Although audits do not carry course credit, they do appear on the external transcript and count toward the five courses that students may take in any given term. Audits are at the discretion of course instructors, who may require students to complete some or all assignments in the course. The deadline for changing a course audit to credit is the end of the fourth week of classes. Students may change from credit to audit until midterm. Check the Academic Calendar for each semester's deadlines.