Dear UG Faculty Colleagues:

I write to re-iterate the UG Program’s target Grading Guidelines, which Rachel Reiser also shared in her Semester Opening Email.  These guidelines are familiar to seasoned faculty, but may be helpful for newer faculty.  The UGPDC’s target Grading Guidelines suggest that:

For Required Courses

  • 25-35% of students can expect to receive A’s (for excellent work)
  • 50-65% of students can expect to receive B’s (for good or very good work)
  • 5-20% of students can expect to receive C’s or below (for adequate or poor work)

For Elective Courses

  • the target average course GPA is approximately 3.25; we hope that the majority will average 3.10-3.40, although a few may fall outside this in the 3.00-3.50 range.


  • The UGPDC has developed these guidelines with the aim of ensuring high academic standards and relative equity in performance assessment across courses and time.  We see these as guidelines that shape overall grading rather than requirements.  Faculty retain discretion regarding grade distributions based on performance in a specific class.
  • We recognize that distribution of grades could vary slightly from the guidelines, particularly for courses with different Spring/Fall populations and across sections of larger, coordinated courses. The UGPDC aims to avoid substantial deviations from the guidelines, especially systematic and persistent deviations by individual faculty or courses.

We should also note that the UGPDC is committed to avoiding grade deflation (and grade inflation) and we would like to ensure that final grades reflect the scores that students have accrued over the course of the semester.  For example, if a student has received scores in the 90s during the semester, she would be reasonable to expect a grade in the “A” range for the course.  Ideally if students’ scores over the semester will usefully distinguish those who have demonstrated the greatest mastery of the subject from those who have demonstrated less mastery.

I would be happy to talk further if you have any concerns or questions.

Many thanks for your teaching & student inspiration this Fall,

Jeffrey L. Furman
Boston University – Questrom School of Business
Rafik B. Hariri Building – 595 Commonwealth Ave., #653a
Boston, MA 02215
t:  617-353-4656 | w: