What is "Credit/No Credit"?
Who should take the course CR/NC?
Who should not take the class CR/NC?
What are the restrictions on the CR/NC option?
What is the deadline for changing my grading option?
What do I need to do to get a CR?
How many students take this course CR/NC?
What are some typical grading distributions?

There are two grading options for MUSI 212: it may be taken either for a grade, or for "credit/no-credit" (CR/NC).

What is "Credit/No Credit"?

This grading option awards credit hours without assigning a standard letter grade. As its name indicates, there are two possible grades: CR (credit) or NC (no credit). Neither grade is factored into your Grade Point Average (GPA).

To explain how this works, imagine a course load of four courses for 12 credit-hours. If you receive grades of A, B, C, and CR, your GPA would be based on the average of the letter grades (in this case, 3.0). If you receive grades of A, B, C, and NC, your average would still be 3.0, but you would be awarded only 9 credits for the semester.

Who should take the course CR/NC?

This is a difficult question to answer. There are usually two considerations: course load and minimum GPA. If you are carrying a heavy course load (either in numbers of credits or difficulty of required courses), or if you feel you cannot allow your GPA to sink below a certain level, you will probably benefit from taking this course CR/NC. You should think of the Credit/No Credit grading option a kind of insurance policy, freeing you in times of great stress to devote time and energy to other classes without risking a low grade in this one.

Who should not take the class CR/NC?

You should not take the class CR/NC if you are planning to use the class to satisfy area requirements. Currently, this course satisfies two requirements: Fine Arts (under Humanities) and Non-Western Perspectives. Such requirements can only be satisfied by a course offering a letter grade.

What are the restrictions on the CR/NC option?

This varies from school to school (see the Undergraduate Catalogue):

Arts and Sciences:

CR/NC courses may not be used to satisfy area requirements. No more than 2 CR/NC courses may be taken in any given semester, and no more than 24 CR/NC credit-hours may be applied toward the degree.

Architecture:

Only one CR/NC elective per semester.

Commerce:

CR/NC courses taken before admission to the Commerce school may count toward the degree. After admission: CR/NC courses cannot be applied toward the degree, and must be taken as an "overload" (above 15 credits/semester).

Engineering:

Only courses outside the degree program may be taken CR/NC.

Nursing:

Only 6 credits of CR/NC courses.

What is the deadline for changing my grading option?

For most schools, the deadline for changing the grading option is the add deadline. For Engineering and Education, the deadline is the drop deadline. Please note: officials in any school are very unlikely to approve petitions to change grading options after these deadlines. They will usually allow for computer errors, but will expect you to file for corrections early in the semester, after you receive your final course information.

What do I need to do to get a CR?

My official policy is that the minimum threshold for CR is equivalent to the letter grade of D. I sometimes award CR to students whose work would have fallen in the D- category, but not always. But be forewarned: the CR/NC option offers no protection to those students who neglect basic course requirements. Every semester I give out the NC grade to students whose work fails to rise above the threshold.

How many students take this course CR/NC?

Long ago, as many as 20-35% of the total enrollment took the class CR/NC (see Spring 1997, below). After this class was designated for the new Non-Western Perspectives Requirement, that percentage dropped sharply. In Spring 2005, for example, only 5% of the class used the CR/NC option. A typical percentage now is about 3%. Obviously, many students take MUSI 212 for a letter grade because they need to do so to satisfy course requirements. Other students, however, probably should use the CR/NC option. My sense is that those who didn't take the course CR/NC but wish they had greatly outnumber those who did, but wish they hadn't (i.e., because their work would have qualified them for an A or B).

What are some typical grading distributions?

You may look here for the final grading distribution for Fall 2000. Please note, however, that this distribution is for grades only: it does not account for the number of students actually taking the course CR/NC.

To see what effect the CR/NC grade has on the grading distribution, you may look even further back to the reported grades from Spring 1997:

Grading breakdown: MUSI 212, Spring 1997 (436 students)

  • A's: 21.6%

  • B's: 24.3%

  • C's: 16.1%

  • D's: 3.4%

  • F's: 0.7%

  • CR: 33.0%

  • NC: 0.9%

Here is the grading distribution for the same semester, omitting CR/NC grades:

Grading breakdown: MUSI 212, Spring 1997, omitting CR/NC grades (288 students):

  • A's: 32.6%

  • B's: 36.8%

  • C's: 24.3%

  • D's: 5.2%

  • F's: 1.1%