Grading System

Academic standing and eligibility for graduation are determined by both the number of credits completed and the grades achieved. 

Barnard's grading policies differ from those of other schools at the University.  The applicable grading system and policies are determined by the college in which the student is  matriculated (not those of the University division offering the course). 

The system used for Barnard students is described below: 

A+, A, A- Excellent
B+, B, B- Good
C+, C Satisfactory
C-, D Unsatisfactory but passing
F Failure
P Passed without a specific grade on student's election of P/D/F option
P* Passed in a course for which only a grade of P or F is allowed
I Incomplete
X Absence from final examination
Y For the first half of a two-semester course in which the grade for the second semester is the grade for the entire course
W Approved withdrawal after "drop" deadline
UW Withdrawal from a course without official notification to Registrar

Pass/Fail grades are mandatory for all students in certain courses, e.g., physical education, First-year Writing and First-year Seminar. Individual students can elect Pass/Fail grading in other courses using the Pass/D/Fail option described below.

At the end of every semester, each student’s term GPA and cumulative GPA are calculated.  To remain in good academic standing, Barnard students must maintain both a term and cumulative GPA of 2.0.  The GPA may be used to determine eligibility for academic and co-curricular programs as well as for awards.  A student cannot be recommended for graduation with a cumulative average below 2.0.   

For GPA calculations, letter grades are converted to the following numerical values:

  • A+ = 4.3
  • A = 4.0
  • A- = 3.7
  • B+ = 3.3
  • B = 3.0
  • B- = 2.7
  • C+ = 2.3
  • C = 2.0
  • C- = 1.7
  • D = 1.0
  • F = 0

Grades of P, P*, W, and UW are excluded from the GPA calculation.

Grades of I and X are non-final grades.  Once a final grade is determined, it will factor into the GPA like any other grade.

At the end of each term all student records are examined. Generally, only those students who have completed 12 points with cumulative averages of 2.0 or above are permitted to remain at Barnard. Students whose work falls below the cumulative average of 2.0 may be permitted to continue at the college with probationary conditions at the discretion of the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing.

Courses in which the student receives the grade of D may not be counted toward the major requirement or the minor option. Courses graded D that are retaken for a higher grade will not receive degree credit when repeated, but can be used to satisfy a major or minor requirement.  Both enrollments and grades appear on the transcript, but the grade received the second time does not count in the GPA.

Students who retake failed courses will see the course twice on their transcript and both grades will factor into the GPA.

Pass/D/Fail Option

A student may elect the Pass/D/Fail (P/D/F) option by submitting a Request for Pass/D/Fail in SSOL, before the deadline published in the Academic Calendar.  A student cannot elect or revoke the P/D/Fail option after the deadline, but a student can request that a P grade be uncovered (see below). The complete rules and instructions are available on the Registrar's Office website.  

Under the Pass/D/Fail option, a student is held responsible for fulfilling all course requirements. The instructor is not informed when a student elects the Pass/D/Fail option. The instructor will assign a letter grade, which will be converted to P/D/F on a student’s Barnard transcript as follows:

  • A letter grade of A+ through C- will appear on the transcript as a P, and will not count in the grade point average (GPA)

  • A letter grade of D will appear on the transcript as a D, and will count in the GPA

  • A letter grade of F will appear on the transcript as an F, and will count in the GPA

P/D/F Limitations

Beginning fall 2023, Barnard students can elect P/D/F grading in one course per term.  This is in addition to any courses with mandatory pass/fail grading.

The P/D/F option cannot be elected for any course designated to count toward the major or the minor.  (As a one-time exception, students were able to elect P/D/F grading for one fall 2021 class to be used towards either a major or a minor requirement. )  However, the P/D/F option may be elected for a course that is counting towards a student’s general education requirements.

Please note that dean’s list eligibility requires a minimum of 12 letter-graded points per semester.  A class in which a student elects P/D/F grading will not count towards that minimum. 

Students should also make themselves aware of any financial-aid related limitations to electing pass/fail grading by consulting the Financial Aid Office.

Students who may be facing extenuating circumstances in a particular semester can petition to elect P/D/F grading in a second course, by speaking with their class dean and then submitting a petition to the College’s Committee on Programs and Academic Standing (CPAS).  CPAS will not generally approve any petition that would result in a student having fewer than six credits of coursework that is either standard letter-graded or mandatory pass/fail, unless a student has been previously approved for a reduced courseload (please refer to the reduced courseload policy for more information about this process).  Students who petition to elect P/D/F in an additional class should be aware that this may disqualify them from consideration for dean’s list for that semester.  Students with ongoing disability-related challenges can also be in touch with CARDS to discuss reasonable academic accommodations.

Previous P/D/F policy (prior to fall 2023)

Prior to fall 2023, students were limited to 23 credits of elected P/D/F coursework over the course of their Barnard career.  (For students who entered as incoming transfers, the maximum was 22 credits.)  Academic Year 2020-21 classes in which students elected Pass/D/Fail grading were excluded from the overall P/D/F credit maximum. As of fall 2023, Barnard students may not apply this previous P/D/F policy to their academic records for current or future terms.

Uncovering a P grade

After final grades become available for the semester, students may uncover their letter grade in a course in which they initially elected P/D/F grading.  The deadline to request the uncovering is the registration deadline of the semester following the one in which the P/D/F course was taken (e.g. the second Friday of the following semester), as noted on the Academic Calendar.  A class in which the P grade is uncovered is still counted towards the one course per term P/D/F limit.

Please note that graduating seniors cannot uncover P/D/F grades in their final semester.  However, if a graduating senior elected P/D/F in a course that is required for the major or minor, the Registrar's Office will administratively uncover the grade at the point of graduation.  This may affect a student’s final cumulative or term GPA, as well as dean’s list eligibility.


Students with compelling circumstances who are unable to complete a course due to outstanding coursework (other than the final exam) may request a grade of Incomplete from their instructor.  The student should submit to the Registrar’s Office an official Request for an Incomplete Grade form, approved by their instructor, by the last day of the Reading Period for the class. (In a course without a final examination, the deadline is the day before the final paper is due if that date precedes the last day of the Reading Period.)  

The remaining coursework must be submitted to the instructor by the Incomplete deadline, which is four months after the end of the term (for fall classes, the deadline is April 15; for spring classes, the deadline is the first day of classes in the following fall term) or by the deadline set by the instructor if earlier.  If the remaining work is not submitted by the deadline, the student will receive a grade with the missing work averaged in as an F.  This grade will be automatically posted by the Registrar’s Office four weeks after the final incomplete deadline for the semester.  

Beginning in academic year 2021-2022, the student will initially receive a temporary grade of I for the class.  Once the work is received and graded, the final letter grade will replace the I on the student transcript (e.g. B+).  

If a student has completed all coursework except the final exam, they can seek approval for a Deferred Exam.


Students can view their grades and unofficial transcripts in the Barnard student portal. 

All copies of official transcripts are sent only at the request of the student in compliance with FERPA, and are subject to the $7.40 fee and five business day turnaround time. Transcripts can be sent by FedEx or Express Mail for an additional fee. Transcripts can be sent in paper or secure pdf format. Students and alumnae can request transcripts here. Barnard cannot send copies of transcripts from other schools that the student attended; they must be requested directly from the other institution.

Dean’s List

Effective fall 2013: To be eligible for Dean's List, a student must be enrolled at Barnard on the Morningside Heights campus (or on a Columbia program abroad) and complete at least 12 letter-graded points with a minimum grade point average of 3.60 for the term. (P-graded points are excluded.) The grade point average will be based on all letter grades in the A to F range.

Beginning with academic year 2020-2021, incoming first-years are required to complete at least 9 letter-graded points with a minimum grade point average of 3.60 for the term.  (P-graded points are excluded.)

Seniors who are approved to take less than 12 credits (by exception in their final semester), must have 9 credits of letter-graded coursework to be eligible for Dean's List.


Spring 2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory pass/fail grading policy, there was no dean's list for spring 2020.

Prior to fall 2013: To be eligible for Dean's List, a student must be enrolled at Barnard for both terms and complete at least 12 letter-graded points each term of an academic year with a minimum grade point average of 3.4 for the academic year. (P-graded points are excluded.) The grade point average will be based on all letter grades in the A to F range.

Note: Dean's list notations are not awarded for summer terms.

College Honors

The Faculty awards honors to students who complete work for the degree with distinction (cum laude), with high distinction (magna cum laude), and with highest distinction (summa cum laude).  

Honors are determined by a student’s final cumulative Barnard GPA, with the top 5 percent of the graduating class being awarded summa cum laude, the next 10 percent being awarded magna cum laude, and the remaining 20 percent awarded cum laude.  

The minimum grade point averages that determine eligibility for each category of Latin Honors may change with each May’s graduating class.  Those same criteria will be applied to the following February and October graduating classes.  (For example, the criteria for each category of honors for the May 2023 class will also be applied to the October 2023 and February 2024 graduating classes.)

Beginning with the February and May 2022 graduating classes, study at other institutions (transfer, summer school, study leave) will not be factored into a student’s Latin honors eligibility.

Latin honors appear on both the transcript and the diploma.

Departmental honors are awarded for distinguished work in the major to no more than 20% of graduates, as nominated by their major departments, and conferred by the Committee on Honors. Departmental honors display on student transcripts but not diplomas.

Phi Beta Kappa

The Barnard section of the Columbia University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1901. Election to the national honor society is a recognition of scholarship, and Barnard students of exceptionally high standing are eligible. Junior election will require a minimum of 86 completed points, and senior election, 102. Students do not apply for membership; they are elected by Barnard faculty members who are themselves members of Phi Beta Kappa.

Eligibility for Student Government Offices

To be a candidate for election to a student government office, a student must be in good academic standing and free of disciplinary action for at least one year.

Eligibility for Intercollegiate Athletics

Any student at Barnard College, Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of General Studies who is pursuing the undergraduate program or a combined program toward a first degree is eligible for intercollegiate athletics, provided that certain conditions are met. To be eligible for athletic activities, a student must:

  • be a candidate for a bachelor's degree;
  • be registered for at least 12 points of credit per semester;
  • be in satisfactory academic standing;
  • have passed by the beginning of the academic year 24 points if in the second year, 52 points if in the third year, or 86 points if in the fourth year;
  • have attended the University for not more than eight terms;
  • not have completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

An eligibility form must be filed with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which consults with the Registrar to determine eligibility.