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Li Han, DeBach–the Visualization of Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavichord," 2016–2017

Course Structure & Grades

Course Structure & Grades

SAIC's courses follow a logical numbering and semester credit-hour system. Read on to learn how we determine numbers and credits and what it means to your course schedule.

Course Numbering

Courses at the 1000 through 4000 level are considered undergraduate courses while 5000- and 6000-level courses are reserved for matriculated graduate students.

    • 1000 and 2000 Introductory—no prerequisites and reserved for beginning students

    • 3000 or 4000 Intermediate and advanced courses

    • 5000 and 6000 reserved for matriculated graduate students

    Participation in graduate-level classes for undergraduate student requires the signature of the instructor and the Director of Academic Advising.

Semester Hours

SAIC operates on a semester calendar and awards credit on a semester basis. Per US Department of Education regulations, for each credit hour assigned to a course, the student must be expected to perform a minimum of three hours of student work per week throughout the semester. Accordingly, a 3-credit hour course requires nine hours of student work per week (three hours of student work for each credit hour assigned). Student work may take the form of classroom time, other direct faculty instruction, or out-of-class homework, assignments, or other student work. To determine the appropriate amount of classroom time required for each course, SAIC follows the standards established by its accrediting bodies.


SAIC records the courses for which a student registers on the permanent record. SAIC adheres to a credit/no credit grading system. The following grade symbols are used to denote credit status:

    • CR: Credit

    • NCR: No Credit

    • W: Withdrawal

    • INC: Incomplete

    • IP: Thesis In Progress

    • NR: Grade Not Reported by Instructor

    Undergraduate and non-degree-seeking students must achieve at least average performance in the course (the traditional grade equivalent of a C) in order to earn CR (credit). Graduate students must achieve the traditional grade equivalent of a B or better in order to earn CR (credit).