Graduate Student Grading and Academic Standing

It is each student’s responsibility to become familiar with applicable department and university regulations governing grading and academic standing.  Policies and procedures of the Graduate School are available at the Graduate School website at

The University at Buffalo and Department of Architecture requires students to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to remain in good academic standing.  Students falling below this level may be placed on academic probation.  If they fail to raise their GPA to the minimum level in the subsequent semester, they may be dismissed from the program.  Students are advised to see their instructors and faculty advisor at the earliest sign of academic difficulty.

Department policy states that students must receive a grade of C or higher in studio. Students must receive a grade of C- or higher in required courses and a passing grade in all other courses, including electives. Failure to obtain the minimum requirement will result in the student needing to re-take the course.

International students or those for whom English is a second language often encounter academic difficulty related to language skills.  Such students may wish to take one or more courses in English writing, speaking or reading at the UB English Language Institute.  If the department believes that your ability to succeed in the program is compromised by weak English skills we may require you to follow this course.

Course syllabi explain the grading policies for each course.  Students wishing to challenge an instructor’s grade should contact the professor and may follow established procedures outlined on the Graduate School website. 

S/U Grading

Students may have the option of receiving a grade of S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) in a course. This decision is up to the student, the instructor and department policy. The Department of Architecture does not allow S/U grading for the following classes: Portfolio, Directed Research or Thesis. 

Graduate students interested in taking a grade of S/U should make the written request to their instructor by the deadline specificed on the Graduate School Policy Library below. They should also reach out to their academic advisor to discuss if an S/U grade is recommended and allowed based on their individual academic record. Should the student be approved for S/U grading in a course, the course instructor will input either the S or U grade when grades are due at the end of the term. 

Please read below for information on S/U grading found in the Graduate School Policy Library:

The instructor shall make explicitly evident within the course syllabus the grading procedures for a course. The syllabus shall include the specification of whether or not the class will be graded with “S/U” or with the weighted “letter grade” options.

Students who wish to be graded on a basis different from the one articulated in the syllabus must submit a written request to the instructor by the resign deadline for the course as denoted in the Student Calendar. The instructor's decision will be final and will be transmitted to the student in writing.

An S indicates credit earned and U indicates no credit earned. The S grade should be awarded only in those instances where a student's weighted grade would have been equivalent to a B or better. No more than 25 percent of required formal course credits in a student's graduate program (not including courses taken as research, thesis, project, portfolio and dissertation guidance, or because of the COVID-19 pandemic any course taken during the spring 2020 semester) shall be graded on an S/U basis. 

Exclusive of S grades, courses to be included as satisfying degree program requirements must average B or better. The U grade indicates unsatisfactory performance, but is not computed in the overall grade point average reflected on the official transcript.

Note: Satisfactory with written evaluation (SW) grades shall not be construed as S grades for this purpose. 

Incomplete Grades

For all graduate-level courses, an interim grade of incomplete (I) may be assigned if the student has not completed all requirements for the course. A grade of I can be assigned only if the student has a passing average in course requirements already completed and successful completion of unfinished coursework could result in a final grade better than the default grade. The instructor shall provide the student specification, in writing, of the requirements left to be fulfilled. An interim grade of I shall not be assigned to a student who did not complete assignments due to non-attendance in the course.

Assignment of an incomplete grade is at the discretion of the instructor. The instructor must specify a default grade when the I grade is submitted. A default grade is the letter grade the student will receive if no additional coursework is completed and/or a grade change form is not filed by the instructor. The default grade can be A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, S or U.

The default grade shall become the grade of record if the I grade is not replaced by a permanent grade 12 months after the close of the term in which the I was assigned. 

Students who receive an incomplete grade must work with the instructor to have the grade changed before degree conferral. At any time prior to the default date, a student may elect to change the I grade to the default grade using the Grade Retrieval Form. More information on incomplete grading policies can be found on the Graduate School's Policy Library. 

Academic Probation

All student grades are reviewed at the end of each fall and spring semester. If a student fails one or more classes in a specific semester and/or if their cumulative GPA falls below a 3.0, the student may be placed on academic probation.

Students on academic probation will receive a letter from the department outlining the terms of the probation and the requirements going forward. They will be required to meet with the Associate Chair and acheive a specific GPA during their next term. Additional requirements may be made specific to each student's case.

At the end of the subsequent semester, the students record will be reviewed again and it will be determined if the student has met the terms of their probation letter. If they have, the student will be either taken off of academic probation or the probation will continue until the student acheives a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

If the student does not meet the terms of their probation letter, the student may be academically dismissed from their graduate program. This determination will be done by the Chair.