Credits, Grades and Examinations

Work accomplished by students is recognized in terms of semester hours, grades, grade points, and grade point average (GPA).


Courses are assigned semester credit values determined by the number of hours of study per week required of the student in and outside of the classroom or laboratory. Although semester credit hours normally are fixed, some variable credit courses are offered. The number of credits given for a variable credit course must be approved by the instructor and the department and may not exceed the maximum semester hours that are defined for each course.

Maximum Credit Load

Undergraduate students usually are not permitted to register for more than 18 credits per semester, including during the Summer Term regardless of course session. Students who wish to take more than 18 credits per semester must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and written permission of the advisor and the appropriate college dean. Under no circumstances shall a student be allowed to register for more than 24 semester hours in any semester.


Students receive one grade in each course taken. This grade combines the results of course work, tests, and final examinations. Grades are indicated by letters and/or plus/minus. Each grade is assigned a certain value in grade points per semester hour of credit, as shown in the table below:

Grade Significance Grade Points Per Semester Hour of Credit
A Excellent 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B Good 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C Satisfactory 2.0
C- 1.7
D Poor 1.0
F Failure 0.0
I Incomplete
CR Credit
NC No Credit
W Withdrawal
FC+ Failed/Remediation Completed (Pharmacy)
FC Failed/Remediation Completed (Pharmacy)
FC- Failed/Remediation Completed (Pharmacy)
FD Failed/Remediation Completed (Pharmacy)
P Pass (Pharmacy)
NP No Pass (Pharmacy)
S Satisfactory (Graduate Division)
NG Work-In-Progress (Graduate Division)
RD Report-Delayed (Faculty did not submit grade by deadline)
L Audit
CE Credit by Institutional Examination
NCE No Credit by Institutional Examination
PBA Portfolio Based Assessment
N Student Exchange Participant

Incomplete Grade (I)

An instructor may assign an Incomplete (I) when a student has done most of the course work satisfactorily, but because of unforeseen circumstances has not completed all course requirements. The Incomplete is not for the purpose of converting a failing grade, or unsatisfactory work, to a passing grade. Incomplete grades should not be given to allow students to do extra credit work to raise their grades. The student must request the Incomplete option from the instructor, but it is the instructor’s decision whether or not to approve the request. Each Student who receives an "I" should consult with the Instructor to determine what work must be done to remove the "I".

If this work is completed by the deadline specified in the UH Hilo Academic Calendar, then the Instructor who assigned the "I" can change it to the appropriate grade using the Change of Grade form, taking the completed work into consideration. In exceptional circumstances, the division chairperson or Dean can change an "I" grade using the Change of Grade Form.

If the coursework is not completed by the deadline, the "I" will change to an "F" or failing grade. For students taking courses as "CR/NC" ("Credit/No Credit") or "P/NP" ("Pass/No Pass") who do not complete the coursework by the deadline, the "I" will change to an "NC" or "NP". The Instructor may set a deadline sooner than that listed in the Academic Calendar, reflecting the instructor's availability to extend his/her commitment beyond the course. The time limit for Incomplete removal prevails whether or not the student maintains continuous enrollment. Some departments and programs may have more restrictive policies regarding incomplete grades.

The incomplete policy has specific implications for students receiving tuition scholarships and other kinds of financial aid and for international students holding visas. Students who receive federal or state aid may lose their eligibility if they receive Incompletes. See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

All courses taken by undergraduate and professional level students are subject to the above policy.

Incomplete grades must be resolved before students can receive a degree.

Updated 12/2017

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC)

Students, provided that they are not on academic probation, may exercise their option to take a maximum of two (2) courses per semester on a “credit/no credit” basis. Courses completed under the CR/NC option may not be used to satisfy the requirements for a major, minor, or certificate, and no more than 12 semester hours in such courses may be counted toward the requirements for a degree. However, this exclusion does not apply to courses that are offered only on a CR/NC basis; these may be counted toward the requirements for a major, minor, or certificate and toward the requirements for a degree.

Once the CR/NC option has been exercised for a course, the designation may not be removed. To qualify for “credit,” the work of the student must be at least at the “C-” (1.7) level. The CR/NC option must be exercised by the date designated for this purpose in the UH Hilo Academic Calendar.

UH Hilo Grade-Point Averages (GPA)

Grade-Point Averages are determined by dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of credits for which a student has received letter grades (excluding “I”, “CR”, “NC”, “CE”, “NG”, “RD”, “S”, or “W”). The UH Hilo semester GPA is calculated on any one semester’s credits and grade points. The UH Hilo cumulative GPA is calculated on all such work taken at UH Hilo.

Grade Reports

Students will access their grade results through STAR.

Change of Grade

A student who believes an error has been made in the assignment of a grade must initiate contact with the faculty member involved, the division chair, or dean prior to the last day of instruction of the next regular semester. Students enrolled in the College of Pharmacy should refer to the Academic Policies and Deadlines pertaining to the College of Pharmacy. Failure to act within this time period disqualifies the student from further consideration of the matter. Once a student has graduated, grade changes may not be made in the student’s record except in cases of documented instructor error.


Students at UH Hilo are eligible for several forms of credit by examination. A maximum of 30 credits earned through any of the following credit-by-examination alternatives may be applied toward the bachelor’s degree.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Level Examination Program enables students to earn college credit by examination in areas approved by the disciplines. Classified students may take CLEP tests to demonstrate college level competency no matter when, where, or how this knowledge has been acquired: through formal study, private reading, employment experiences, non-credit courses, military/industrial/business training, or advanced work in regular high school courses. This program gives individuals the opportunity to validate and receive credit for college-level knowledge they already possess.

No student is eligible to take CLEP General Examinations for UH Hilo credit after reaching sophomore standing; i.e., the student must have completed not more than 30 semester hours of college work.

Criteria for passing the CLEP General and Subject Examinations are determined by the appropriate academic discipline. A satisfactory score on these examinations, as determined by the appropriate academic division, yields course credit.

Students completing CLEP subject examinations with acceptable scores will receive college credits, which will be noted on their academic record. Please contact the Office of the Registrar to determine satisfactory scores for the CLEP subject exams and related credit awarded if the course is not listed in the UH System Transfer Database.

Advanced Placement Examination Program (AP)

Credit for comparable UH Hilo courses, as well as advanced standing, may be granted to students who complete Advanced Placement Tests offered by the College Entrance Examination Board. These exams are administered in high schools for students who have completed specific college-level courses in high school. Advanced placement credit decisions are made by the faculty of the appropriate UH Hilo academic discipline. A list of how specific scores on specific Advanced Placement tests will be accepted for credit by UH Hilo is available online in the Transfer Information on the Admissions website.

International Baccalaureate Program

Advanced standing credit may be awarded for coursework completed in the International Baccalaureate Program. Scores of four or greater in higher level examinations will be considered for advanced credit. Contact the Office of the Registrar for equivalences.

Credit by Institutional Examination

Students who are enrolled in the University and who believe they have mastered the content of a specific course may, with the permission of the chair of the appropriate academic discipline, be given an examination to determine whether credit should be given for the course. If approval is granted, the chair shall arrange for such an examination. The examination shall be as comprehensive as the usual “final examination,” and must be designed to serve as the scholastic equivalent of the course. A satisfactory score will yield course credit in the subject and the grade “CE” (Credit by Exam) will be entered on the student’s permanent academic record. Student must be a currently registered UH Hilo student during the term in which the Credit by Exam is given. Credit for the exam is posted to the student’s records approximately five (5) weeks into the semester. Credit by Exam can not be used to replace a grade in a course already completed at UH Hilo.

Refer to the UH Hilo Academic Calendar for the last day to apply for Credit by Examination in the Fall and Spring semesters. A fee is required for each credit by institutional examination attempt and must be paid prior to the exam being administered. Where special tests, supplies, and/or materials are required, the student will bear the cost of such items.

Credit for Previous Foreign Language Study

Students who have learned Hawaiian or foreign languages outside of the University of Hawaiʻi may earn credit for their language in one of three ways:

  1. through credit by institutional examination, if the language is taught at the College of Arts and Sciences or Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language;
  2. through the Advanced Placement Examination Program; or
  3. through the College-Level Examination Program.

For more detailed information, students should consult with the Chairperson of Languages at the College of Arts and Sciences (Humanities Division , Edith Kanakaʻole Hall) or Director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

Native and bilingual speakers of a foreign language may not receive credit for courses in that language which are designed for non-native speakers.

Placement and Credit for Previous Knowledge of Hawaiian

Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani is a unique college established to serve native and bilingual speakers of Hawaiian as well as those new to the language. In order to be properly placed in an appropriate level of Hawaiian, students with previous knowledge of Hawaiian should take a placement examination. Ka Haka ʻUla conducts placement testing every fall and spring semester on a day during the week prior to the start of classes. Students in Hawaiian language courses may also earn an appropriate number of credits for demonstration of previous knowledge of Hawaiian language structure, literacy, and oral use. To learn more, contact Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani (the College of Hawaiian Language) at (808) 932-7222.

Foreign Language Placement Tests

Students who previously studied foreign languages must consult with the Chairperson of Languages in order to determine the level at which they should enroll for language study.

General Certificate on Education Examination Held Overseas (GCEEO)

The College of Arts and Sciences accepts only A-level GCEEO Examination grades of “A,” “B,” and “C.”