How MBAs Are Graded At Top Schools

Grading Policies At Top MBA Programs

School Grading System Academic Honors Minimum Standards
Harvard Business School Category I: Top 15% to 20% in required courses & 15% to 25% in elective coursesCategoryII: Next 70% to 75% in the core & 65% to 75% in electivesCategoryIII: Lowest performing 10% in both core & electivesCategory IV: Seldom assigned; designates failure. The combined proportion of category II and IV grades should equal 10% Baker Scholars: Top 5% of graduating class

Other Awards: For top performance in each year

Students receiving 5 or more out of 10 Category III/IV grades in the core are brought to a faculty committee. Some are asked to take a hiatus before returning. Most finish the program.
Stanford GSB H: Honors (Top 10%)HP: High Pass (Next 30%)P: Pass (Next 50%)LP: Low Pass (Lowest 10%)

U: Unsatisfactory (failing grade based on absolute performance)

Arjay Miller Scholars: Top 10% of graduating class based on GPA (H = 6 points; HP = 4 points; P +3 points; LP + 1 point Good Standing: GPA above 2.65Academic Probation: GPA between 2.25 & 2.65Disqualified with the right to petition: GPA between 1.5 & 2.25, one U in a core course, or two U’s in electives.Disqualified without right to petition: GPA of less than 1.5 or 3 or more U’s
Chicago (Booth) A through D with +/- distinctions and F.An A+ = 4.33 points.The average GPA for a course may not exceed 3.33. High Honors: Top 5% of the graduating class

Honors: Next 15% of the graduating class

Dean’s Honor List: Every quarter for students with GPAs above 3.5

Probation: GPAs of less than 2.33 in a quarterAdministrative leave of absence or dismissal: Two consecutive quarters on probation
UPenn (Wharton) A through D with +/- distinctions and F.LT: Lowest 10% of each class; not noted on transcriptA+ is 4 pointsThe average GPA for a course may not exceed 3.33 Palmer Scholars: Top 5% of the graduating classHonors: Top 20% of graduating classFirst-Year Honors: Top 20% at the end of first yearDirector’s List: Top 10% each semester Probation & Dismissal based on accumulation of LT designations.Dismissal: 5.0 or more credit units of LT in the first year and 8.0 or more cumulatively
Columbia Business School H: Honors (Top 25% to 30%): 10 pointsHP: High Pass (Next 55% to 65%): 7 points

P1: Pass (P, LP, and F combined = 10%): 4 points

LP: Low Pass: 1 point

F: Fail: 0 points

Grades have =/- distinctions

Dean’s Honor: Top 25% of graduating classDean’s Honors plus Distinction: Top 5% of graduating class

Dean’s Honor List:

First Term, GPA of 9.0 or better

Later Terms, GPA of 9.25 or better

Probation & dismissal based on accumulation of LP grades during the programWarning occurs if GPA in first term is 5.9 or below, dismissal occurs if GPA in first term is 4.4 or below
NYU (Stern) A through D with =/- distinctions and F.Upper limit of 35% on As in core classes Beta Gamma Sigma: Top 20% of graduating classGraduation with Distinction: Top 10% of graduating classStern School: GPA of 3.7 or above after first year Probation and dismissal based on GPA and credits taken
Dartmouth (Tuck) H: Honors (Top 15% first year, 20% second year)S+: Satisfactory (Next 25% to 50%)S: Satisfactory (Next 25% to 50%)LP: Low Pass (up to 15% in first year, 10% in second yearF: Fail Edward Tuck Scholars graduating with highest distinction, high distinction and distinction based on GPA Probation: Three or more LP gradesDismissal: Six or more LP grades. F counts as two LPs.
Northwestern (Kellogg) A through D and F (no +/- distinctions)No grade distribution suggested, but every course’s actual grade distribution is made visible to other faculty MBA with Distinction: Top 10% of graduating classDean’s Honor List: GPA of 3.75 or above in a quarter Minimum C average
Yale SOM High Honors: Top 10%Honors: Next 25%Proficient:Pass (two lowest categories to be uniformly 10% for core courses and a target of 5% for electives)


No Honors A failing grade in a core course must be remediated in the next term or part of term in which the course is offered. A student who does not remediate the failing grade will automatically be dismissed from the program.A student falls short of the Quality Standard if he/she:1. Accumulates nonproficient grades in 21 or more units of course work; or2. Accumulates nonproficient grades in more than 12 units of core courses; or3. Accumulates failing grades in more than 4 units of core courses.

Source: Analysis by Anjani Jain of Yale SOM 

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