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.

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. 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?

On average, about 20-35% of the total enrollment. 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?

What follows is the actual grading distribution for a recent semester:

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%