In May 2005 the Montana Board of Regents adopted Policy 301.5.3 governing minimum grades. Students in the Montana University System must earn minimum grades in their coursework before those classes can be used for graduation. The minimum grade standards are as follows:
- For classes used to satisfy a prerequisite or required class in a student's major, minor, option or certificate, students must earn a C- or better;
- For classes used to satisfy a general education requirement, students must earn a C- or better;
- For classes used as free or elective credits, students must earn a D- or better. (Free or elective credits are additional credits that a student must earn in order to have the required number of total credits for a two-year or four-year degree. They are classes that are not used to satisfy the requirements of a major, minor, option, certificate or general education program.)
Higher Grade Standards
The policy allows individual programs to establish minimum grade standards that are higher than the minimums set out above. Higher minimum grade standards may apply to some or all of the courses used to satisfy the pre-requisites or required classes in a major, minor, option or certificate program, or classes used to satisfy a general education program. More information about programs that have established higher grade standards, can be found here.
Who Do the New Minimum Grade Standards Apply To?
The new grade standards do not apply to students who were taking classes in the Montana University System before Fall Semester 2005. Those students were excluded, because it seemed unfair to change the minimum grade rule in the middle of their educational careers. That exclusion continues to follow students, even if they change campuses within the Montana University System. The grade standards established by the degree-awarding campus, prior to Fall Semester 2005, would apply to these students.
The new minimum grade standards do apply to students:
- who are new to the Montana University System as of Fall Semester 2005;
- who are new transfer students from outside the Montana University System, as of Fall Semester 2005;
- who are readmitted students, based on campus rules, as of Fall Semester 2005.
"Plus and Minus" Grading
All of the campuses that make up the Montana University System have adopted a grading system that includes pluses and minuses. This means that faculty system-wide now have the right to award letter grades that include a plus or a minus (i.e., B+, B and B-; or C+, C and C-). Students should be aware of the following details, however:
- faculty members are not required to attach a plus or minus to their letter grades. If they want to, they can. If they don't want to, they don't have to. That flexibility is based on the very important principle that faculty have the right to determine grades in their classes, based on their evaluation of student work.
- the highest grade a student can earn is an A. An A+ grade is not possible.
- pluses and minuses will not be attached to an F. If a student has failed a class, the amount or degree of failure is unimportant.