Method of course evaluation and grading procedures

University Assessment Policy

The policy can be found on the Secretariat site.


    Extract from the charter of student rights concerning course outlines


      1. No candidate for an examination may bring into the examination room any books, notes or other material containing information pertaining to the examination unless the examiner has given instructions that such material will be allowed. Anything brought into the examination room is subject to inspection.
      2. Calculators are not allowed unless otherwise specified. It is the candidate's responsibility to ascertain whether the use of calculators is permitted, and, if it is, whether any restrictions are imposed on the types of calculators that may be brought to the examination.
      3. Translation dictionaries (e.g., English-French) are allowable except in courses where knowledge of a language is one of the objectives of the course. Translation dictionaries must not include any definitions or synonyms.
      4. Other dictionaries (thesaurus, definitions, technical) are not allowed unless otherwise specified.
      5. Notwithstanding the above, electronic dictionaries, whether they are translation or otherwise, are never allowed.
      6. Talk or any other form of communication between candidates is forbidden.
      7. Candidates must not use or attempt to use any improper source of information. No information of any kind that might be of assistance to another candidate is to be written on the question paper.
      8. Students writing examinations are responsible for arriving at the right time and place. Forgetfulness or inadvertently arriving at the wrong time or place cannot be considered acceptable excuses. Candidates will be permitted to enter the examination room quietly up to one half hour after the scheduled start of the exam. After this time they will be admitted only by special permission of the Deputy Invigilator or the Chief Invigilator.
      9. Students must have with them their McGill student identification cards.
      10. Candidates are not permitted to leave the examination room until one half hour after the examination has begun, and in no case before the attendance has been taken.
      11. A candidate who leaves before the examination is over must hand in all completed and attempted work. All work must be done in accordance with the examination instructions, and must be handed in to the invigilator.
      12. The Exam Security Computer Monitoring Program may be used to detect pairs of students with unusually similar answer patterns on multiple-choice exams. Data generated by this program can be used as admissible evidence, either to initiate or corroborate an investigation or a charge of cheating under Section 16 of the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.
      13. Any breach of these regulations will be reported to the Chief Invigilator and to the Disciplinary Officer of the student's faculty for appropriate action. A student found guilty of cheating or attempting to cheat is liable to expulsion from the University.


    1. If books, notes, etc., cannot be left outside the examination room, they must be put in a place designated by the invigilator before the candidate.
    2. The doors of the examination room will normally be opened 10 minutes before the starting hour.
    3. Students may not leave the examination room during the last fifteen minutes of the exam.
    4. Candidates must remain seated. A candidate needing to speak to the invigilator (e.g., to ask for additional supplies or to request permission to leave the examination room for any reason) should so indicate by raising his or her hand.
    5. Questions concerning possible errors, ambiguities or omissions in the examination paper must be directed to the invigilator, who will investigate them through the proper channels. The invigilator is not permitted to answer questions other than those concerning the examination paper.
    6. At the close of the examination, candidates must stop writing and submit their work at once.

    Letter grades

    When a course is graded numerically, letter grades are assigned as follows for the purpose of calculations of grade point averages. Only letter grades will appear on the student's transcript as of the fall 2002.


    Grade point


    A 4.0 85 -100
    A- 3.7 80 - 84
    B+ 3.3 75 - 79
    B 3.0 70 - 74
    B- 2.7 65 - 69
    C+ 2.3 60 - 64
    C 2.0 55 - 59
    D (Conditional Pass) 1.0 50 - 54
    F (Fail) 0 0 - 49

    Grades may be reported on a Pass/Fail basis only in courses approved in advance by Faculty for such grading.

    Failure and Conditional Pass

    If a course with a final grade of F, J or D is required by the student's program, or if it is prerequisite to another course, the student must raise the mark to a C or better by supplemental examination, additional work when available, or by repeating the course. Students may also attempt the supplemental in elective courses where they have not received a mark of C or better, if they are eligible and feel that they will be able to obtain a satisfactory grade. Normally, a student in satisfactory or probationary standing is permitted to write up to two supplemental examinations for a maximum of eight credits.


    i. Extension (K)

    The special code of K should be used when you wish to extend the deadline for submission of course work. An extension of up to four months after the end of the course may be granted by the instructor for completion of term work. The student must have an acceptable reason for not having completed the work. The reason and the arrangements made with the student for completing the course must be reported on the form entitled "Submission of K", available from departmental offices. Note that students must sign this form. It is not necessary to submit a copy of the form to Service Point.

    Grades of K must be cleared by April 30 for fall-term courses and by July 30 for winter-term and courses spanning fall and winter terms or they will change to KF's and will the affect the GPA. The K is replaced by the mark on the external documents (transcripts) but appears on internal documents, such as verification forms, along with the final mark, enabling the adviser to offer suggestions should any student show a great number of them.

    ii. Further extension (KE)

    An extension beyond the 4-month period must be approved by the Director of Advising Services (SOUSA) and by the instructor. Students are asked to submit a letter of request to the Director (SOUSA) which should include:

    • method of course evaluation (papers, research project, examination);
    • statement of how much work, both written and research, has been completed to date;
    • statement of how much work remains to be completed, and a timetable; date to which student is seeking extension; students graduating in October must have their work submitted by August 30, and their course grade must reach the Office of the Director of Advising Services by September 15;
    • other courses the student is taking in the upcoming semester and the total number of credits;
    • reasons why course work was not completed within the time period of the first extension. For K grades granted in fall courses, this date is April 30; July 30 for K grades granted in winter courses and courses spanning fall and winter.
    • Professor's permission to grant an additional extension to the date stated above should be included, as well as documents when appropriate (in cases of medical or family affliction).
    • A demanding course schedule will not normally be grounds for granting a KE grade. Requests will be considered on their merit; insufficiently supported requests will not be granted.

    iii. Failed to meet the extended deadline (KF)

    If a student does not complete this work within the extended period, the grade becomes KF and counts as a failure in the calculation of the CGPA.

    iv. Absent (J)


    The special code J (absent) counts as an F (Failure) in calculation of the student's grade point averages. The grade of J must be given when the student did not write the final exam(including take-home exams).

    The grade of J may also be given if the student did not complete another part of the course requirements and has not arranged with the instructor to receive an incomplete (K). In this case, however, the grade of J should only be given under these conditions:

    • the weight of the missing work/exam in the calculation of the mark is sufficient that the student cannot earn a passing mark when given a zero for the missing work/exam; for example, a student missing a paper worth 70% of the mark should be given a J;

    • the instructor has announced at the beginning of the course that a J will be given if the work/exam is not submitted/written, even if the student has earned a passing grade in the course with the missing work/exam.

    Students who receive a J have the right to request that their grade be based on their course work only. There are some conditions. Please see this section of the Calendar.

    v. Deferred (L)

    Students who have not written the final examination for valid and officially documented reasons, such as serious illness or family affliction, may receive permission to apply for a deferred exam. Permission is granted only by Service Point in Enrolment Services. The deferred examination period is held after the April examinations for fall-term courses and the last week of August for winter-term courses and courses spanning fall and winter terms. Courses taken in other faculties other than Arts and Science may have different deferred examination periods. Special arrangements to write deferred exams at other times are not allowed other than for the most exceptional reasons, such as for a graduating student. Students must appeal to Service Point for consideration.

    vi. Withdrawn (W)

    A special code of W, WL (withdrawn from deferred exam) or WF (withdrawn failure) appears on the mark report beside the names of students known to have withdrawn from a course. Permission to withdraw from a course or from the University after the course withdrawal deadline is granted only by Service Point for valid and officially documented reasons such as illness or family affliction. Grades of WL or WF are only granted by Service Point for valid and documented reasons.

    vii. Pending (NA)

    A special code of NA is entered by the SOUSA Office for a student whose grade is not yet available for exceptional reasons other than an extension of the deadline for work submitted (K).

    viii. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U)

    Students may designate elective courses outside of their program requirements to be graded under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option. Courses with final grades of S or U will not count towards program requirements (including the Freshman Program). If students have inadvertently selected a required course for the S/U option, they must complete a substitute course which has been approved by their adviser to fulfil the program requirement. Below is a summary of the conditions which apply to the S/U option:

    • the S/U option may not exceed 10% of a student's credits taken at McGill to fulfil the degree requirements (e.g. 10% x 90-credit program = 9 credits);
    • the S/U option may be applied to elective courses only;
    • a maximum of one course per term may be taken on the S/U option;
    • students may select the S/U option only during the Drop/Add period;
    • appeals to remove the S/U option after Drop/Add period and before the end of term must be submitted in writing to the Director of Advising Services(SOUSA); they will be granted only when a student has accidentally added the option to a required course;
    • all other appeals will be refused; students need not appeal to have the S/U option added;
    • no appeals will be accepted after the last day of classes; if the course in question is required for a student's program, and the term has ended, then an alternative course must be selected in consultation with the departmental adviser(s);
    • the S/U option will be converted as follows: grades of A through C are converted to S, grades of D, F, and J are converted to U;
    • all S/U courses will be excluded when calculating the grade point average, but will be included in the total of "McGill credits attempted". Courses completed with a grade of S will be included in "McGill credits earned";
    • S/U courses will count in the course load calculation for determination of part-time or full-time status;
    • to be considered for undergraduate scholarships, prizes, medals, awards, and the honorific designations such as Dean's Honour List, students may not use S/U courses toward their course load minima;
    • the S/U option is not open to Special, Visiting, Exchange, or IUT students;

    The S/U option will be confidential on MINERVA. A student may be able to verify the S/U option on Minerva during the term. This choice will not appear anywhere on the student's printed record until such time as the grade is recorded. It is up to the student to ensure that he/she does not exceed the overall number of S/U credits permitted. No checks will be made until the time of graduation, and excessive S grades at that time will prevent graduation.

    Mark changes

    Instructors should use the grade change module on Minerva to submit mark changes or final marks for previously incomplete Science courses. Be sure to inform your department of the change so that they can approve it on Minerva in a timely fashion.

    Posting of marks

    Departments need not post final marks which were submitted electronically to Service Point. Students can check the Minerva Web site for their grades. All posted marks or grades (whether final or interim) may identify the students by student number only, not by name.

    Reassessments and rereads

    In accordance with the Charter of Student Rights, and subject to the conditions stated therein, students have the right to consult any written submission for which they have received a mark, to discuss this submission with the examiner, and to obtain an impartial and competent review of any mark.

    The Faculty recognizes two types of impartial reviews: reassessments of course work (ie., of term papers, mid-terms, assignments, quizzes, etc.) and rereads of final examinations. In both cases, rather than re-correct the work and grade it as they would have done themselves, reviewers assess the appropriateness of the original grade based, for example, on the application of the grading key to the student's work. If a grade is deemed unfair, it is changed, whether the new grade is higher or lower than the original – i.e., the reviewer's grade takes precedence over the original grade.

    Reassessment of Course Work

    Reassessments of course work are administered and conducted solely by the units involved according to procedures specified by the units and made available to staff and students. Requests for such reassessments must be made within 10 working days after the graded material has been made available for students to view it. Reassessments should normally be completed within 20 working days of the request.

    Rereads of Final Examinations

    Rereads of final examinations are administered by Service Point, but conducted by the units involved. Students must apply to Service Point (use the online form) by March 31 for courses in the Fall term and by September 30 for courses in the Winter or Summer terms (these deadlines are strictly enforced and no requests for rereads will be accepted past them). Students are assessed a fee of $35 for such rereads. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that students consult the instructor of the course before requesting a reread of a final examination.

    Reassessments and rereads in courses not in the Faculty of Science are subject to the deadlines, rules and regulations of the relevant faculty.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Students should be reminded that plagiarism is an extremely serious offence. They should be given appropriate guidance as to what might be considered "plagiarism" in submitting work. Students should also consult the Academic Integrity Website at  Academic Integrity.

    The possession or use of unauthorized materials in any test or examination constitutes cheating. Data generated by the Exam Security Monitoring Program can be used as admissible evidence either to initiate or corroborate an investigation or a charge of cheating under Section 16 of the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

    Allegations of plagiarism and cheating together with the evidence should be referred to the Disciplinary Officer of the student's faculty. It is the Disciplinary Officer's responsibility to determine if plagiarism or cheating has occurred and, if so, to determine the penalty.

    The University policy on the academic offences of plagiarism and cheating is outlined in the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures available from the Office of the Dean of Students.

    Deadlines for mark submission

    It is essential that marks be submitted by the following deadlines:

    • fall courses
    first day before lectures begin in January
    • winter courses and courses spanning fall and winter
    with no final exam
    with final exam, grad
    with final exam, non-grad

    one week after lectures end in April
    one week after date of exam
    two weeks after date of exam
    • supplemental and deferred examinations
    within 3 days of the examination

    • additional work
    within 3 days of the supplemental/ deferred examination period

    • grades of K for fall courses
    April 30

    • grades of K for winter courses
      and courses spanning fall and winter
    July 30
    • grades of K for summer courses
      and courses spanning fall and winter
    November 15