Undergraduate grading practices and procedures

Grading practices and procedures in the Department of Political Science are guided by university policies specified in the UVic Calendar.


Political Science Department: Implementation of alternative COVID grading scale, April 24, 2020

The University of Victoria is offering grading options for students for the spring (January-April) term in an effort to help ensure academic quality and support student success, as well as to alleviate stress during these challenging times. Please check the University’s website for frequent updates, for responses to FAQ, and for detailed information on grading options as well as other information and news.

See the main website: https://www.uvic.ca/covid-19/

The Political Science Department has revised undergraduate program requirements to reflect changes in the University’s grading options for the spring 2020 term. Our revised program requirement and grading options are outlined below. In addition, as has always been the case, we will deal with requests for waivers and substitutions on a case-by-case basis.

Please contact an Undergraduate Advisor if you have any questions or concerns.

Program Requirements

Q: I want to use the ‘pass’ option for a 100 level class I took this spring. If I take a ‘pass’, will this class count towards the required 7.5 units at the 100 & 200 required for a POLI major?

A: Yes, you can take a ‘pass’ in any / all POLI courses at the 100 and 200 level, and still use these courses to count towards the required 7.5 units at the 100 & 200 level.

Q: I am doing the European Studies (EUS) Concentration and took POI 311 in the spring 2020 term. Can I take the ‘pass’ option, and still receive credit for this class towards my EUS Concentration?

A: No, our program requirement that you receive a grade of a least a B in POLI 311 in order to use it towards your EUS concentration remains in place. You must maintain a ‘grade’ for POLI 311 if you want to use this course towards your EUS Concentration.

Q: I am in Co-op. Have the admission requirement for Co-op changed?

A: No, all the admission requirements remain the same. Students must have competed at least 22.5 units to apply to co-op, must have an overall GPA 5.0, and a GPA of 5.0 (B average) in 100- and 200-level POLI courses. Students must have a B in POLI 351.


Q: I want to apply to the honours program in political science. Has the minimum GPA requirement to apply to honours changed?

A: No, students must have a 6.0 GPA average in at least 7.5 units of POLI courses at the 100 and 200 level to apply to honours. However, we will allow students to substitute one upper level (e.g. one 300 level) course for one lower level class taken in spring 2020. So if a student has a grade below B+ or a ‘pass’ grade in one lower level class in spring 2020, we will substitute an upper level class for this lower level class.

Q: I am an honours student, and took POLI 321 this spring term. Can I take the ‘pass’ option in POLI 321 and progress into 4th year honours?

A: No, we expect that students will have a grade on their transcript for POLI 321 (not take the ‘pass’ option) in order to enter the honours program or advance into 4th year honours.

Q: Has the GPA for honours students moving from 3rd year to 4th year changed?

A: No, the requirements remain the same. To continue in the program in the fourth year, students must secure a GPA of at least 6.5 in Political Science courses taken during the third year, and maintain an overall sessional GPA of 6.0.

Q: Has the graduating average for honours students changed?

A: No, the requirements remain the same. Students must have an average of 5.5 or higher in best 21 units (unchanged), and must have a grade of B or higher in 499.

Instructors in Political Science do not grade to a pre-established curve and there are no set requirements for the distribution of grades in any course. Instructors submit grades online, and those grades are available to students online as soon as they have been approved by the Chair. Grades are not official until they have been approved by the Chair.

If the grades for a course are not available online, it means that the grades have not yet been approved by the Chair. Grades posted elsewhere, such as on Moodle, are unofficial and subject to change. Most assignments in Political Science are written and therefore take more time to grade thoroughly than machine-graded exams.

Please see the grade ranges below as laid in the University of Victoria Calendar:

Passing Grades Grade Point Value Description
Exceptional, outstanding and excellent performance. Normally achieved by a minority of students. These grades indicate a student who is self-initiating, exceeds expectation and has an insightful grasp of the subject matter.
Very good, good and solid performance. Normally achieved by the largest number of students. These grades indicate a good grasp of the subject matter or excellent grasp in one area balanced with satisfactory grasp in the other area.
Satisfactory, or minimally satisfactory. These grades indicate a satisfactory performance and knowledge of the subject matter.
D 1 Marginal Performance. A student receiving this grade demonstrated a superficial grasp of the subject matter.
F 0 Unsatisfactory performance. Wrote final examination and completed course requirements; no supplemental.
N 0 Did not write examination or complete course requirements by the end of term or session; no supplemental.

If you disagree with your grade for an assignment, you have the right to appeal that grade. We follow the formal procedures for grade appeals adopted by the Faculties of Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences.

Your first step is to contact the instructor to discuss the grade. If your instructor confirms your original grade, you can then make an appointment to meet with the Department Chair. The Chair will ask you to submit relevant materials described in the Guidelines above, and to "sign a consent form indicating that she/he understands that the grade may be raised, lowered, or remain the same".