Graduate Courses and Grading

Graduate Courses

A graduate course is a discrete, time-delimited unit of instructional/learning activity identified by a course code, in which a student must enroll. All graduate courses must have an instructor in charge who is appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Regular sessions of all graduate courses must be offered in an approved university academic space/location, normally on campus.  Exception can only be granted with the approval of the Dean on the recommendation of the graduate program director.

Graduate courses must be approved in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Students and Senate policies and procedures. Initial approval of new courses by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Senate includes approval of the scope and feasibility for completion within the allotted time of requirements in those courses. All graduate programs shall, on an ongoing basis, and in consultation with students, ensure that requirements in courses are reasonable, and can normally be accomplished within the course period.

Graduate programs may have a variety of requirements that are not courses but constitute other academic events or milestones which have been approved in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies and Senate policies and procedures. Some common non-course academic events and milestones are major research papers/projects/review essays, comprehensive examinations, practica, internships, field work, theses, dissertations, etc.

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Course Codes and Course Credits

Graduate courses have course codes consisting of:

  • a prefix associated with the program;
  • a four-digit course number, beginning with 5, 6 or 7, in accordance with program numbering practices, and;
  • course credits.

A 3.00 credit course is considered a half-course that is normally taken over one term. A 6.00 credit course is considered a full-course that is normally taken over two consecutive terms. Individual graduate programs may offer courses with other course credit weightings.

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Cross-listed Courses

Cross-listed courses are offered between two or more graduate programs.

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Integrated Courses

Graduate courses may be integrated only with undergraduate courses at the 4000-level, where it is understood that 4000-level indicates an advanced level. Graduate students will be expected to do work at a higher level than undergraduates. Integrated courses must have an instructor in charge who is appointed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Graduate students may not take or receive credit for an integrated course at the graduate level if they took it at York or elsewhere at the undergraduate level.

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Course Enrollment

All newly admitted and continuing graduate students are York University are responsible for being familiar with and registering, enrolling in courses, and paying fees in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies and University policies, deadlines and procedures.

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Course Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from a course without permission by the posted drop deadline (i.e. the last date to drop courses without receiving a grade). After this, students shall remain registered and will be assigned grades as appropriate. Approval of the Graduate Program Director is required to drop a course after the posted drop deadline and before the relevant grade reporting date. Approval of the Graduate Program Director is required to withdraw in good standing from a course, before or after the posted drop deadline.

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Grading System

Grades will be awarded for every course in which a student is enrolled in accordance with the following system. The letter grade system is the fundamental system of assessment of course performance in graduate programs at York University. In courses where percentages are used as a means of reporting grades on individual pieces of work, the following conversion table is to be used in converting percentage grades to letter grades, unless alternative provisions for scaling and/or conversion are announced to students in writing within the first two weeks of classes.

The percentages indicated are not part of the official grading scheme and are meant only to be used as guidelines.
Grading System
 A+  Exceptional  90 – 100%
 A  Excellent  85 – 89%
 A-  High  80 – 84%
B+  Highly Satisfactory  75 – 79%
B  Satisfactory  70 – 74%
C  Conditional  60 – 69%
F  Failure  0 – 59%
I  Incomplete  N/A

Note: Different grading systems and grading regulations apply in the graduate programs in the Schulich School of Business and the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies. Consult the appropriate calendar or handbook for more information.

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Grades in Courses

Course directors must announce in writing, in each course within the first two weeks of classes, the nature and weighting of course assignments and their due dates, including, if applicable, assessment and/or grading requirements with respect to attendance and participation. In keeping with reporting dates, the expectation is that course assignments can normally be accomplished within the course period.

In exceptional circumstances, a previously announced marking scheme for a course may be changed, but only with the unanimous consent of students; the new marking scheme must also be distributed in written form.

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Grade Reappraisals

Grade reappraisals in the Faculty of Graduate Studies are governed by the Senate Principles Regarding Grade Reappraisals.

Grade reappraisals are undertaken in the unit offering the course. These principles, articulated for the Faculty of Graduate Studies, are as follows. (Students in the Schulich School of Business should consult their program offices for grade reappraisals procedures.)

1. Students may, with sufficient academic grounds, request that a final grade in a course be reappraised (which may mean the review of specific pieces of tangible work). Non-academic grounds are not relevant for grade reappraisals; in such cases, students are advised to petition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies through their graduate program office. For grade reappraisals, students are expected first to contact the course director to discuss the grade received and to request that their tangible work be reviewed. Tangible work may include written, graphic, digitized, modelled, video recording or audio recording formats, but not oral work.

Students need to be aware that a request for a grade reappraisal may result in the original grade being raised, lowered or confirmed.

2. In the event that the student is still not satisfied with the final grade OR the course director is not available to review the work, the student may submit in writing a formal request for a grade reappraisal to the graduate program in which the course is offered. The Senate approved deadline for submitting grade reappraisals is February 15 for fall term grades, June 15 for fall/winter session and winter term grades, September 30 for summer session grades, or a minimum of 21 days from the release of grades, whichever is later. When a submission deadline occurs on a weekend or holiday, requests will be accepted up until the end of the next available business day. Exercising discretion about minor delays in meeting the deadline which result from slow mail delivery or extraordinary circumstances is reasonable.

3. If the condition of sufficient academic grounds has been met, the student must submit:

  1. a copy of the marked assignment,
  2. a clean copy of the assignment (i.e., a copy of the assignment minus comments of the course director), and
  3. a copy of any instructions given in relation to completing the assignment.

The graduate program director (or designate) will be responsible for ensuring:

  1. that, by comparing the marked and clean copies of the assignment, the clean copy of the assignment is an unaltered copy of the work to be reappraised,
  2. that the description provided by the student in relation to the nature of the assignment and the instructions given for the assignment is verified with the faculty member concerned,
  3. that the faculty member who graded the work provides a statement indicating the grade assigned the work and the rationale for that grade,
  4. that the clean copy of the assignment is reappraised by an appropriate faculty member,
  5. that the student and reappraiser identities are not disclosed to each other, and
  6. that the results of the reappraisal (including the reappraiser’s comments) and the route of appeal are communicated to both the student and the course director.

The reappraiser will be given:

  1. the clean copy of the assignment,
  2. a description of the nature of the assignment and any instructions provided to students regarding the completion of the assignment, and
  3. the rationale for the original grade.

It is expected that every effort will be made to render the decision within 30 days of the reappraiser having received the work.

4. Parties to the decision may appeal a negative decision on a request for a reappraisal, or the result of the reappraisal itself to the Petitions Committee of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (for graduate courses at York) or, for undergraduate courses, to the Faculty-level appeals committee in the Faculty in which the course is offered. The only grounds that will be considered are procedural irregularity. Procedural irregularity is defined as actions taken or not taken by a department, Faculty, graduate program, its officers, committees, or members with respect to the previous disposition of the case which violate or nullify one or all of the following:

  1. normal and written procedures of the University, Faculty, graduate program or department concerned;
  2. consistency in the Faculty’s, graduate program’s or department’s handling of cases substantially similar to that being appealed;
  3. principles of equity, natural justice or fairness, whether or not such violation occurred in accord with written or customary procedures. Appeals based on allegations of these last procedural irregularities should allege and demonstrate obvious bias or other misbehaviour on the part of the officers or agents of the University and for which redress was not provided by an authority which considered the case prior to the appeal.

Appeals must be submitted within 21 days of notification of the decision. Faculty committees may waive that deadline when special circumstances are established by the appellant. No member of the Faculty committee shall consider an appeal if s/he considered the matter at an earlier level. At the discretion of the Faculty committee, the student and/or the faculty member may be invited to meet with the Committee to present his/her case orally. The Committee’s decision will be taken in camera and it is expected that parties will be informed of the decision in writing within 30 days of the filing of the appeal.

5. Parties to the appeal at the Faculty-level may file an application for leave to appeal the decision to the Senate Appeals Committee (SAC) on the ground of procedural irregularity at the Faculty-level. Applications for leave to appeal must be submitted within 21 days of the notification of the Faculty decision. SAC may waive that deadline when special circumstances are established by the appellant. No member of SAC shall consider the application if s/he considered the matter at an earlier level. As explained in the SAC procedures, parties may appear before the Committee if leave to appeal is granted to make oral submissions on the ground of procedural irregularity. The Committee’s decision will be taken in camera and it is expected that the parties will be informed of the decision in writing within 30 days of the filing of the application.

6. Parties to the decision of the Senate Appeals Committee may apply to the Committee to have the matter reconsidered if there is evidence of procedural irregularity on the part of SAC. Applications must be submitted within 21 days of the posting of the decision.  SAC reserves the right to waive this deadline in special circumstances. Requests for reconsideration of a SAC decision will be considered by a panel of SAC members who did not serve on the panel first hearing the matter; it is expected that a decision will be rendered within 30 days of its submission.

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Reporting of Grades

The grades for a course are considered official following approval by the home graduate program of the course. The Faculty of Graduate Studies may change a grade if the program director concerned reports a clerical error or if an appeal to the program results in a change of grade. Graduate course grades must be reported by the graduate program director to the Registrar’s Office by the following dates:

Fall Term: January 15 (3.0 or 6.0 credit course)
Fall/Winter and Winter Term: May 15 (3.0 or 6.0 credit course)
Summer Term: September 15 (3.0 or 6.0 credit course)

If a course grade or approved Incomplete is not reported to the Registrar’s Office within one month of the appropriate reporting date, the course will be assigned a grade of ‘F’.

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Grade Reports

In addition to letter grades, the following course performance designations may be used on grade reports.

Incomplete:

When a student’s coursework is not completed and evaluated by the appropriate grade reporting dates, the award of ‘I’ may be approved by the program director. A grade of ‘I’ must be removed within two months of the reporting date for a half-course or within four months of the reporting date for a full-course. Extension of this time is possible only upon successful petition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Petitions Committee. If the grade of ‘I’ is not removed by the end of the specified period, it will become a grade of ‘F’.

Withdrawal from Courses in Good Standing:

The symbol (W) (withdrew in good standing) will be recorded in place of a grade to indicate that a student was authorized to withdraw in good standing from a course, before or after the posted drop deadline.

Auditor:

Students wishing to attend courses without the requirement to complete course assignments and without the expectation that they will receive evaluation of participation in the course must register as auditors. Permission to audit a course must be approved by the instructor of the course and appropriate program director. Auditor status should be indicated at the time of enrollment in the course. For York University graduate diploma and degree students, changes from credit to auditor status are permitted, provided that not more than two-thirds of the course has been given. University and Faculty regulations and policies with respect to conduct apply to auditors.

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Academic Standing

Combinations of ‘C’ Grades Which Require Withdrawal Unless Continued Registration is Recommended and Approved

A student who received in total any of the following combinations of grades for graduate courses may not continue to be registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and in a graduate program unless this continuation is recommended by the graduate program director concerned and approved by the Dean:

  1. two C grades for 6.00 credit courses;
  2. one C grade for a 6.00 credit course and one C grade for a 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course;
  3. a total of three C grades for 3.0 credit (or equivalent) courses.

In no cases will grades be averaged.

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Combination of ‘F’ and ‘C’ Grades Which Require Withdrawal

A student will be required to withdraw from a graduate program and registration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies will be terminated if the student receives in total for graduate courses, during enrolment at York University:

  1. one F grade for a 6.00 credit course or two F grades for 3.0 credit (or equivalent) courses; or
  2. one F grade for a 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course and one C grade for a 6.00 credit or 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course.

In no case will grades be averaged.

Note: The academic standing regulations with respect to grades in courses described above do not apply to grades awarded for courses which students elect to and are authorized to enrol in upon registration, but which are additional to those specified by a faculty adviser and program director as constituting the minimum required program of studies.

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Transfer Credit (Advanced Standing)

Following initial registration in a graduate program and prior to completion of the first term of study, graduate students may request transfer credit (advanced standing) for graduate-level courses completed at York University or another institution that have not been used to fulfill the requirements of another degree program or graduate diploma. Credit for such work will be determined by the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, on the recommendation of the program concerned. Transfer credit accepted towards fulfillment of the degree program to which the student has been admitted may count for up to 50% of the coursework requirements for the York graduate diploma or degree program.

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Undergraduate Students Taking Graduate Courses

In exceptional circumstances upper level undergraduate students can register in a graduate course for credit. This credit may not be re-used towards a York graduate degree. Students should apply for a Letter of Permission through the Registrar’s Office. Permission of the course instructor and graduate program director and the approval of the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies is required.

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