Faculty / Staff Handbook VII

VII. Instructional Policies

VII.A. General Information and Policies

VII.B. Student Attendance Policies

VII.C. Grading

VII.A. General Information and Policies

VII.A.1. Class Meetings

Academic departments enter their course offerings online in Banner each semester according to a schedule established by the Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management (CBASM). Refer to the Quick Links section of the CBASM website (https://www.binghamton.edu/offices/cbasm/) for this schedule. For any class with an expected enrollment over 79, the department must notify the Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management to ensure that a classroom will be available at the time the department plans to offer the class. The due date for this information is listed on the above-mentioned schedule.

Academic departments are expected to schedule class meetings at standard times (see below). No more than 45 percent of a department's sections each semester should be offered during the Tuesday/Thursday daytime meeting times and no more than 65 percent of their sections should be offered during of the prime times of the day, 9:40 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and 10:05 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday/Thursday.

The standard meeting times are as follows (prime times are in bold):

M-W-F Classes (60 minutes per day)

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
9:40 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.
10:50 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
1:10 p.m. - 2:10 p.m.

2:20 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
4:40 p.m. - 5:40 p.m.
5:50 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
8:10 p.m. - 9:10 p.m.
9:20 p.m. - 10:20 p.m.

M-W or W-F Classes (85 minutes per day)
8:05 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
5:50 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
7:25 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.
9:00 p.m. - 10:25 p.m.

T-R Classes (85 minutes per day)

8:30 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.
10:05 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
11:40 a.m. - 1:05 p.m.
1:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.
2:50 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

4:25 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.
6:00 p.m. - 7:25 p.m.
7:35 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
9:10 p.m. - 10:35 p.m.

M-T-W-R-F 3 hours per day

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

The standard meeting patterns shown above must be honored for courses meeting in prime time. In cases where courses must be offered at non-standard times during prime time, approvals from the department chair and dean's office are required. The course will be given second-level priority in room scheduling (scheduled after courses adhering to standard meeting patterns) based on room availability.

Courses meeting for three hours during prime time hours requiring a general purpose classroom will be scheduled at the University Downtown Center, after CCPA courses have been scheduled there. The following standard meeting periods will apply:

M-T-W-R-F Class Days - University Downtown Center only

8:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
1:40 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.
5:50 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.

Courses meeting two days per week for 85 minutes each day have the option of being scheduled at the University Downtown Center following the standard meeting periods of:

MW or WF or TR

9:25 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.
11:00 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.

VII.A.2. Classrooms

The Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management (CBASM) assigns meeting places for classes that use general-purpose classrooms. Academic departments do the assignment of classroom space that is not general-purpose (e.g. laboratory classrooms, seminar rooms, recital halls, etc.) To optimize the use of general-purpose classroom space, the Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management tries to closely match the capacity of the rooms to the class enrollments.

During the period when departments are entering their course offerings in Banner, departments must notify the Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management of any courses with expected enrollment over 79 to ensure that classrooms are available. In addition, instructors who have special needs because of disabilities or who need specific classroom technology may make room requests online using the Instructor Classroom Request Form found on the Quick Links section of the CBASM website (https://www.binghamton.edu/offices/cbasm/). Specially requested classroom assignments made in advance of regular classroom scheduling will remain provided the course enrollment makes optimum use of seating capacity.

For classroom scheduling purposes, courses with a meeting time of "TBA" (to be announced), courses which run for less than the full semester, and courses with non-standard meeting times, will, by necessity, be given a low priority.

The Office of Course Building and Academic Space Management also schedules classroom space for academic-related events (review sessions, exams, lectures, etc.). Requests can be made online using the B There Room Scheduling System located at https://bthere.binghamton.edu.

VII.A.3. Distance Learning Courses

Distance learning courses are indicated in the schedule of classes on BU Brain with an Instructional Method of Online Asynchronous (OA), Online Synchronous (OS), Online Combined (OC), or Online Hybrid (OH). Online Asynchronous courses are those in which students and instructors interact remotely and the instructional material is available online and accessed by the students at any time according to the class schedule. Online Synchronous courses are those in which students and instructors interact remotely and students remotely view the instruction as it occurs in real-time. Online Combined courses are those in which there is a combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction that occurs over the length of the course. Online Hybrid courses are those in which there is both in-person and online (asynchronous and/or synchronous) instruction that occurs over the length of the course.

VII.A.4. Release of Student Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)--commonly known as the Buckley Amendment--provides for students' access to their education records and assures them of the confidentiality of those records. That act places strictures on the information about a student that may be released without a signed and dated consent from that student. Information about students, including but not limited to Social Security numbers, birth dates, class schedules, grades, and grade point averages, is protected by FERPA. 

Employees of the University, therefore, must not release student information to any outside parties and must not post grade information on walls, doors, web sites, or any other public place. There is to be no oral or written release of personally identifiable information from any student's education record without signed and dated consent of the student, except to:

  • authorized University personnel defined by the person responsible for the file as having a reasonable need to know;
  • state and federal education authorities to whom information must be made available by statute and/or for the audit of federal programs;
  • SUNY System Administration;
  • organizations and educational agencies involved in testing, administering financial aid or improving instruction, provided the information is presented anonymously;
  • accrediting agencies;
  • appropriate persons to comply with a court-ordered subpoena, in which case an attempt is made to notify the student in advance;
  • appropriate persons in the case of emergency;
  • University counsel.

Faculty and staff should consult with the Student Records Office regarding any such requests for student information. More information regarding FERPA is available at https://www.binghamton.edu/registrar/ferpa.html.

VII.A.5. Records Retention

It is University policy that the Office of Student Records will maintain a student file (scanned/digitized images) and computerized academic record for a student for six years from the date of last attendance. The scanned/digitized file contains high school transcripts, transfer transcripts, academic petitions, degree certification information, and academic action information. After the six-year period, the scanned/digitized file may be purged. The Office of Student Records maintains original grade submissions from faculty permanently.

VII.A.6. Services to Students

Faculty and staff should refer a student to any of the University's specialized services as necessary or appropriate. Academic advising offices in each school provide general information about academic programs to undergraduate students. University Tutorial Services (UTS) and other tutoring initiatives offer free peer tutoring in a wide range of subject areas. The Testing Center offers a secure alternate testing location to assist instructors in meeting accommodations for students with disabilities and in scheduling make-up examinations and in-person examinations for distance education courses. The Decker Student Health Services Center focuses on medical or health concerns. The University Counseling Center attends to students who express emotional or psychological challenges. Students in need of financial assistance or guidance on the various options to help finance their Binghamton education can contact the Financial Aid Office, located in the Admission Center, Room 112. Financial aid counselors are available, no appointment necessary, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during summer and winter breaks). The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development prepares students for careers and advanced studies through 1:1 career consultations; job, internship, graduate school and law school fairs; employer site visits; student-alumni networking programs; a centralized academic internship program; on-campus interviewing; and management of hireBING, the University's online job and internship search engine for students. The Center for Civic Engagement provides information and guidance in developing community-based learning, service and research projects.  The mission of the Services for Students with Disabilities office is to facilitate the educational and personal development of Binghamton University students with disabilities and enhance the architectural and attitudinal accessibility of the campus environment.  Other offices providing services to students include the Office of the Dean of Students, Case Management, Residential Life, Student Records Office and International Student and Scholar Services, as well as a number of additional offices in the Division of Student Affairs (https://www.binghamton.edu/student-affairs/departments.html).

VII.A.7. Office Hours

All faculty are expected to maintain a regular schedule of office hours for consultation with students. The number of hours and the particular schedule are determined by the faculty member, but with the condition that they are sufficient and mutually convenient and offered in an appropriate modality to assure accessibility to all students registered for the class, whether in-person or online.

VII.A.8. Syllabus Statements on Credit Hours, Course Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Public Health Emergencies

Faculty should state clearly in writing at the beginning of each semester the instructional objectives of each course they teach. If the course fulfills a requirement in the University's General Education curriculum, the appropriate learning outcomes for the General Education designation should also be included in the syllabus.

To help students understand the typical demands of an academic course and to meet accreditation requirements, all syllabi should include an appropriate statement to explain Binghamton University's course standards to students. For a four-credit course that follows the typical Fall/Spring meet pattern, this means that each week students are expected to do at least 9.5 hours of course-related work outside of class in addition to the three scheduled lecture/discussion hours. For further information and sample syllabus statements (including samples that correspond to other terms, other credit levels and other delivery modes), please see here.

In the event of an ongoing public health emergency, faculty will be asked to provide a link in their syllabi to University policies regarding face coverings, social distancing, or other health and safety requirements. 

VII.A.9. Use of Community Resources for Teaching

Faculty who assign projects to students that may involve contacts with private, voluntary, or governmental agencies are expected first to establish with the administration of the given agency the feasibility and acceptability of the contacts.

VII.A.10. Student Evaluation of Teaching

A Student Opinion of Teaching (SOOT) questionnaire for courses is available through the Learning Management System (Brightspace) for instructors. SOOTs are only one of many possible approaches to student evaluation of teaching, and are themselves voluntary. However, the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost does require evidence of student input on the quality of a faculty member's teaching over time when that faculty member is being considered for promotion and/or tenure.

VII.A.11. Faculty and Staff Responsibilities for Ensuring Equitable Access for Students with Disabilities


VII.A.12. Web and Media Accessibility Policy

The delivery of digital and web-based information is increasingly central to carrying out the University’s mission. The University is committed to ensuring that all are able to access, benefit from, and contribute to the University’s broad array of academic, administrative, and research programs, services, and activities. As such, Binghamton University will make electronic information such as websites, digital course materials and library electronic resources accessible. In accordance with the University’s mission and federal and state laws, ensuring equal and effective access to electronic and information technologies developed, procured and used by the University is the responsibility of all University administrators, faculty, and staff.   

Binghamton University is committed to promoting and providing an inclusive and welcoming digital environment. Applicable standards pertain to web pages and content developed by or for a college, department, program, or unit of the University, including faculty websites used for instructional purposes. Websites that contain information used in instruction must be accessible to all students in the class. All students should have the opportunity to join class related experiences including interactive electronic experiences such as chat rooms. Accessibility must be considered when purchasing and licensing software, videos and related media.

Each person posting on a University or instructional website, as well as information on the course management system, is responsible for ensuring that the material is designed to be accessible. Departments within divisions have responsibility to monitor continued accessibility compliance of their web pages. The Technology Accessibility Advisory Group will develop and disseminate guidelines for meeting applicable web accessibility standards and update those guidelines as necessary. Web accessibility problems related to a specific student’s disability-related needs should be directed to the Services for Students with Disabilities Office.

Binghamton University’s Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy applies to University websites, applications, and other digital content. Concerns with the University website should be addressed to the web director at web@binghamton.edu. More information is available at Accessibility at Binghamton.

VII.A.13. General Information About Student Activities

Faculty and staff may obtain information concerning student organizations from the Student Association (SA) for SA organizations and from Fraternity and Sorority Life for fraternities and sororities. For other information contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

VII.A.14. Orientation Programs

Several orientation sessions for new undergraduate students are scheduled during the summer months. Both first-year and transfer students are offered the opportunity to attend one of these sessions in order for them to receive academic advising, register for classes, and become familiar with the many services of the University. In addition, an orientation session is offered for both first-year and transfer students prior to the start of the academic year in August. An orientation program is also offered for students admitted for the spring semester. Orientation of new graduate students is carried out by the Office of the Graduate School and by the constituent schools and departments of the Graduate School. Faculty are called upon to participate in various phases of these programs. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services provides an orientation program for new international students prior to the start of the fall and spring semesters.

VII.A.15. Advising Student Organizations

Students may ask members of the faculty to be advisers to approved student groups. Faculty members should discuss proposed advisory responsibilities with department chairs (or deans/directors when appropriate) before accepting any invitations. Faculty are invited to discuss matters relating to their advising functions with the Dean of Students Office.

As an adviser, the faculty member is responsible for informing the organization of University policy and of the policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University.

VII.A.16. Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the University that students be secure from any sexual harassment by faculty, staff, and administrators. (Refer to the Faculty Statement of Professional Standards in Section IV.)

VII.A.17. Tutoring for Pay

Tutoring of University students for pay by University faculty is prohibited.

VII.A.18. Academic Honesty

See the "Policies and Procedures" section of the University Bulletin.

VII.A.19. Student Photographs

Electronic versions of student photographs (which are collected for use on the Binghamton University ID Card) will be included with a student's electronic record in Banner, the Binghamton Portal and other University software systems. Faculty members will have access to student photographs as an additional safeguard in verifying a student's identity for class rosters, testing and academic advising purposes. Faculty are not to use the student photographs for any purpose outside of those described. While faculty will have access to student photographs in Banner and the Binghamton Portal, students will not have access to their own or any other student's photograph in Banner. University police will require the use of photographs in managing access and verifying the identity of students.

VII.A.20. Eight Keys to Veterans' Success

Binghamton University recognizes the significant value that student veterans bring to our campus and believe that it is important that we ensure that veterans receive the best possible educational experience. We are committed to implementing, and sharing, promising practices as outlined in the "Eight Keys to Veterans' Success."

  • Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
  • Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  • Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
  • Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space for them (even if limited in size).
  • Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
  • Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
  • Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
  • Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.

VII.B. Student Attendance Policies

VII.B.1. Religious Holidays - Education Law

Section 224- a. Students unable because of religious beliefs to attend classes on certain days. (as amended by Laws of 1992, chapter 278)

  1. No person shall be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he or she is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to register or attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day or days.
  2. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.
  4. If registration, classes, examinations, study or work requirements are held on Friday after four o'clock post meridian or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements or opportunity to register shall be made available on other days, where it is possible and practicable to do so. No special fees shall be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study or work requirements or registration held on other days.
  5. In effectuating the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.
  6. Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section.

VII.B.2. Student Attendance and Classroom Discipline

Reporting Absences

““Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, laboratories, and discussions. Instructors may establish their own attendance criteria for a course. They may establish the number of unexcused absences permitted to receive credit for the course and the number of absences, after which the final grade may be adjusted downward. In such cases, the instructor is expected to stipulate such requirements in the syllabus and make the syllabus available to students at or near the beginning of classes. In the absence of such statements, instructors have the right to deny a student the privilege of taking the final examination or of receiving credit for the course or may prescribe other academic penalties if the student misses more than 25 percent of the total class sessions. Excessive tardiness may count as an absence” (Policies and Procedures Section of the University Bulletin).

Faculty noting an excessive number of absences by a student are urged to report this fact to Academic Advising or the appropriate dean's office so that the student's whereabouts and circumstances may be ascertained.

Faculty should be sure to note the provisions of the Education Law relating to student attendance and religious holidays appearing in the entry immediately preceding.

Student and Classroom Discipline

Minor infractions of conduct are ordinarily handled at the time by the instructor. Any disciplinary problems should be reported immediately to the Office of Student Conduct. Instructors who discover cases of theft, vandalism, or other serious offenses by students should report them to the Office of Student Conduct. In any instance wherein an instructor would like to report inappropriate behavior or difficulty confronting a student, the dean of students can offer consultation as needed. The Students of Concern Committee, via the dean of students, will also help the instructor develop a plan of action for the more difficult classroom situations.  For specific guidance, please see https://www.binghamton.edu/case-management/support/students-of-concern.html and https://www.binghamton.edu/counseling/services/.

Any instructor may exclude from attendance any student who, in the instructor's judgment, has seriously impaired the class's ability to achieve the objectives of the course. The student may appeal the instructor's action to the department or school using the established grievance procedure. If the student is not satisfied with the ruling or recommendation emerging from the grievance hearings, an appeal may be brought to the appropriate dean.

In the event of an ongoing public health emergency, instructors are responsible for ensuring that their class complies with University policies regarding face coverings, social distancing, alternating or rotating class attendance assignments, and other posted health and safety requirements.  Instructors may also impose course-related penalties for students who violate these policies.

VII.B.3. Absences by Students from Classes for Participation in Official University Events

Students at Binghamton University have the opportunity to participate in many kinds of activities beyond the classroom, including intercollegiate athletics, that either contribute to the quality of their undergraduate experience or promote their postgraduate careers. At times, students' participation in competitions requires them to be absent from regularly scheduled classes. Students are responsible for all work missed. At the same time, faculty members are expected to accommodate students' participation in such activities. If this is a University-sanctioned activity, the sponsoring organization has a similar responsibility to accommodate students' needs to meet their class obligations. Each student is responsible for notifying the appropriate instructor(s) of a potential absence at the beginning of the term for events already scheduled, and not less than a week before those scheduled once a term begins. Faculty should be flexible in providing opportunities for students to make up tests and other work missed.

VII.C. Grading

VII.C.1. Student Evaluation

Members of the academic staff must state clearly in writing the methods to be employed and the weighted value of each criterion used in determining a final course grade. They must inform students of any differential expectations and criteria, such as those between graduate and undergraduate students in the same class. If the course has been structured differently for students selecting a given grading option (e.g. Pass/Fail), the difference in structure must be clearly explained. If faculty members have a policy regarding late assignments, this policy should be stated in the course syllabus.

Grades should reflect levels of student achievements on learning outcomes and standards presented to students at the beginning of a course in a syllabus. Students should receive timely, formative feedback as soon as possible during a course so they can gauge their progress and have an opportunity to improve their performance before receiving a final grade.

If instructors are asked to move courses online due to a public health emergency, they may modify their syllabi to account for the academic disruption and the shift to remote instruction. Quizzes, assignments and tests completed before the shift to remote instruction should not be re-weighted to change their percentage of the final grade.

VII.C.2. Grading System

The grading system used by each academic unit is stated in detail in the appropriate sections of the Bulletin. For overall information on the grading system used for undergraduate or graduate students, please see the University Bulletin.

VII.C.3. Transferring Courses and Credit Within Binghamton University

For the purposes of the procedures following, the term "schools" refers to Harpur College, the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the School of Management, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the College of Community and Public Affairs, Watson College, and the Graduate School. As defined by the Graduate School Bylaws, the Graduate School consists of the graduate components of all schools within Binghamton University.

  1. The specific grading system used in any school at Binghamton University shall be the responsibility of the governing body charged with supervising the academic program of the school. If a school elects to use a grading system such as Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, or some similar alternative, the performance level equivalent to Pass, Satisfactory, etc., shall be that level of achievement required for a degree from that school. However, any school that permits only a limited number of courses to be taken on a Pass/Fail or similar basis may specify that the performance level for Pass, etc. can be lower than the overall level of achievement required for a degree from that school.
  2. A certain degree of "cross-fertilization" among Binghamton's schools and free use of elective courses within them is to be encouraged. However, a school may set a limit to the number of courses from any other school that its students may take for credit toward its degree. A school may also impose restrictions with respect to the taking for credit of courses in other schools that are essentially duplicative of courses offered in the home school. The home school should ensure that other schools are informed when restrictions of the latter kind are imposed. If an individual student, a group of students, a faculty member, a department, or a school feels that a particular school is being overly restrictive in this regard, an appeal may be made to the Educational Policies and Priorities Committee of the Faculty Senate.
  3. Students from any school who register in courses offered by another school will be graded in accordance with the policies of the school that offers the course and not by the policies of the school in which the student is enrolled. However, in instances where the grading systems of the two schools are not consonant, course instructors may consider petitions received from students by the deadline date for adding new courses to have their course performance evaluated in a manner consistent with the grading policies established by the school in which they are enrolled.
  4. If a school accepts a course taken in another school for credit toward its degree, it must also accept and record the grade assigned by the course instructor. The term "grade" indicates whatever acceptable symbol was submitted by the instructor as an evaluation of performance. However, if the grading system of the home school permits a Pass/Fail, Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory, or some similar alternative, the school may allow its students to direct the registrar at the time of registration to convert the grade earned in a course accepted from another school to the appropriate P/F, S/U, etc. formula. This conversion procedure shall apply only to the Official Transcript (external); the Institutional Record (internal) and the Grade Report shall record the grade as assigned by the course instructor.
  5. Questions relating to a student's academic standing or rate of progress shall be resolved according to the policies of the home school. As a matter of general policy a school may choose to accept courses from other schools for credit toward its degree only at certain specified levels of performance (e.g., with earned grades of C or better). Moreover, a school may use whatever data are obtainable from other schools (e.g., final course registration lists in addition to or in lieu of grades) in determining rate of progress and academic standing for its own students.
  6. A school may refuse to award credit for certain courses taken in another school if these are the kinds of courses for which credit would not be transferred from extramural institutions. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain approval as required by the policies of the home school before taking courses in another school. Schools will publicize their practices in this regard as clearly as possible.

VII.C.4. Examinations and Papers

Examinations, papers, and other projects should be graded within a reasonable time and should be returned or made available to students who wish to review them. It is also expected that comments and corrections will be explained to students who seek explanations. To allow a means of evaluating the work of students who ask that a grade be reviewed, instructor's grade records, test scores, syllabi, and all other records pertaining to the course should be kept for two years, and graded work not returned to students should be kept for one year after course completion, in accordance with the SUNY specific record retention policy (https://www.binghamton.edu/operations/policies/policy-900.html).

VII.C.5. Final Examinations

In order to ensure that instruction continues throughout the entire semester, if a course ends with a test or final exam, it must take place during the official Examination Period. A test or exam may only be given in the last week of the semester if an exam is also given during the official Examination Period. If the final graded component in a course is a take-home exam, it may be due at any time during the official Examination Period, but not earlier.

Students should not have to take three or more final examinations in one 24-hour period. In cases in which a student has more than two examinations scheduled during a 24-hour period, it is the student’s responsibility to notify faculty before the last week of classes. Faculty are urged to arrange a time for a make-up exam. In cases where a conflict arises, the faculty member teaching the largest course will be expected to arrange a make-up examination, since an alternative exam time for a larger course is more likely to meet the needs of multiple students.

This policy does not apply to lab exams, or if an exception is granted by the relevant dean at the instructor’s request.

VII.C.6. Submission of Grades

Submitting grades on time prevents delays students will experience related to transcript requests, conferral of degrees, eligibility for financial aid, degree verifications by employers and mailing of diplomas.

Faculty must turn in all grades by the date they are due according to University policy. All full-length fall and spring semester final grades must be submitted electronically via BU Brain no later than five business days after the end of the examination period. All Winter Session and Summer Session final grades must be submitted electronically via the BU Brian no later than three business days after the end of the examination period. The Student Records Office processes course grades on a rolling basis and releases them to students following this process.

Faculty who miss the deadline or need to change grades after they are processed and viewable by students in BU BRAIN must go to their departments or Student Records, located in Admissions Center, Room 112, to obtain a change of grade form.  A change of grade form must be submitted in person by the faculty or a department staff member directly to Student Records or via campus mail.

When the instructor of record is not available to assign grades in a reasonable time frame, the department chair will assign another qualified and discipline-specific faculty member to do so.

Should a student wish to know a grade for any reason before official notification, and the faculty member has had a reasonable time to calculate that grade, the faculty member is expected to supply it. For purposes of demonstration of accomplishment to an outside agency, the faculty member's note on appropriate departmental stationery may be authenticated in the Student Records Office with the University Seal. (See also Faculty Responsibilities and Leave Status in Section IV.)

VII.C.7. Posting Grades

Information about students, including grades, is protected by FERPA (see section VII.A.4, Release of Student Information). Employees of the University, therefore, must not post grade information on walls, doors, websites, or any other public place.

Students can check their official final course grades via the BU Brain. In addition, the Blackboard course management system offers a way for instructors to post preliminary unofficial final grades for student viewing in a secure environment.

Faculty are expected to remain available for personal consultation with candidates for graduation for three working days after grades have been posted. Faculty members should leave in department, division, or deans' offices contact information where they may be reached by students.

VII.C.8. NSF and Incomplete Grades

NSF Grade

Students who have registered for but did not attend without completing the formal withdrawal process must be assigned a grade of NSF (Did Not Attend).  The grade will appear as an F on the student's transcript, but this enables the University to distinguish between students who stopped participating in courses and those who did participate.

Faculty are urged to report early on students not in attendance to Academic Advising or the appropriate dean's office so that the student's whereabouts and circumstances may be ascertained.


A notation of Incomplete, rather than a grade, may be reported by the instructor when a student has not been able to complete a course for what, in the instructor's judgment, is a compelling reason. The submission of an Incomplete means that a student has made a substantial commitment to the course, but some remainder of the work must still be accomplished before an evaluation may be made.

Students must determine with the instructor what work is necessary for completion of the course and when the work must be submitted.

Ordinarily all Incomplete notations must be replaced with grades by the end of the next semester, whether or not the student is in college. Incomplete notations change to an F grade at the end of the next semester unless an official extension has been filed with the Student Records Office. It is the student's responsibility to initiate a request for an extension, having reached agreement with the instructor for an alternate completion date. The appropriate form, Request for Extension of Incomplete Grade in an Undergraduate Course, may be obtained from the academic advising office of the college or school in which the student is enrolled.


An instructor may assign an Incomplete (I) when a student has done most of the coursework and satisfactorily but, due to unforeseen circumstances, has not completed the coursework. The Incomplete is not for the purpose of converting a failing grade, or unsatisfactory work, to a passing grade. The student must request the Incomplete option from the instructor, but it is the instructor's decision as to whether or not it is appropriate. Graduate students who are given a grade of I are given six months from the last day of classes to make up the incomplete work. This is the maximum allowed. However, the instructor and student should have a written contract that indicates the timeline and requirements for completion. The instructor may set a deadline sooner than the University maximum, reflecting the instructor's availability to extend his or her commitment beyond the course, but the instructor may not extend the University period of six months. It is expected that, upon submission of the remaining work, faculty will take no longer than one month to file a final letter grade for the course. Students must, therefore, submit the remaining work at least one month before the agreed-upon deadline or the University six-month deadline, whichever comes first. Unless the student completes the coursework and the instructor submits a final letter grade within six months, a grade of I changes to a grade of No Credit (NC). Once an I has changed to an NC the student has no further opportunity to complete the course, and the course will appear on the final transcript as No Credit.

Under exceptional circumstances only, the six-month grace period for Incomplete grades may be extended for another six months. Requests for extensions of Incomplete grades require the approval of the course instructor and the dean of the Graduate School or designee. Requests must be made at least one month before the six-month deadline.

The Incomplete policy has specific implications for students receiving tuition scholarships and other kinds of financial aid and for international students holding visas, as indicated below.

  • Tuition Scholarships: When a student receives a tuition scholarship, the University pays tuition for the courses taken by that student. In a case in which an I converts to a W, the University has paid for tuition for a course that was not completed. Furthermore, when the student drops below the required number of registered courses, the student has violated the conditions outlined in the Terms and Conditions of the Tuition Scholarship (which is signed by the student). Students receiving tuition scholarships should be aware that the University will seek repayment of tuition that was paid for Incomplete courses that turn into Withdrawn.
  • Financial Aid: See the Graduate Academic Progress Chart on the Financial Aid website for information on the required number of completed credits per graduate level per semester.
  • International Students: Student visas require that students be registered as full time, so Withdrawn courses usually signal registration that fell below full-time status.

All courses taken by graduate students are subject to the above policy. Incomplete and missing grades must be resolved before students may receive a graduate degree.

Some departments and programs may have more restrictive policies regarding Incomplete grades, and students should make it a point to learn about their department's rules and expectations.

VII.C.9. Missing Grades

University policy requires submission of all final grades; however, should students require additional time to complete their work a grade of "Incomplete" (I) must be used. Under no circumstances should a grade be left blank as an alternative to assigning an Incomplete.

In cases where the student never attended class, faculty and instructors must use the "Did Not Attend" grade (see VII.C.8. for more information on these two grades). Doing so will avoid jeopardizing or delaying a student's financial aid, GPA calculation, degree conferral and/or mailing of diplomas.

Students who stopped attending should be assigned a grade based on what they earned out of the total for the course. This grade should take into account all work assigned, not just the portion of the class they attended. Under no circumstances should a grade be left blank.

VII.C.10. Changing Grades

No change may be made in a grade unless one of the following situations occurs: (1) cheating is discovered; or (2) the instructor testifies that a mechanical error has been made; or (3) where applicable, the instructor may change a grade to Incomplete if satisfactory evidence shows that events beyond control prevented the submission of a student's required work. Normally, grade changes for the Fall semester should be completed by the end of the second week of classes in the Spring semester, and changes for the Spring semester should be completed by four weeks after Commencement. Additionally, there is an absolute limit of 18 months from the end of the semester during which the course was taken to make changes in grades in Harpur College courses.

For more information on how academic honesty violations may affect a student's grade, please see the University Bulletin section on "Policies and Procedures".

VII.C.11. Formal Complaints Concerning Grades

If a student has a complaint about a grade or other academic grievance, the first step is to talk to the instructor involved. If the matter is not settled satisfactorily, the student should contact the department chair or division director about the complaint and submit the complaint through the formal grievance procedure established by the department. The department decision may, if the student still feels aggrieved, be appealed to the appropriate dean.