Skip to main content
Grading and Academic Standards Print

The Faculty of Environmental Studies follows the York University undergraduate grading scheme which awards letters ranging from A+ to F and assigns a point value from 0 to 9 to each letter grade. The various grades that may be awarded in satisfying the requirement of a BES course or assignment are outlined in the Undergraduate Handbook, available at the Office of Student and Academic Services in 137 HNES.

BES Term Work, Tests and Examinations

Term work: term work includes reports, assignments, essays, tests, and other written and oral work assigned in a course, with the exception of final examinations, as outlined in the approved course syllabus. Course directors set the deadlines for submission of term work. All term work must be submitted by the last day of classes of the term in which the course ends. Term work submitted after the last day of classes of the term in which the course ends will not be accepted for grading. Students will be penalized five per cent of the value of the assignment per day that their assignment is late. Exceptions to the lateness policy for valid reasons such as illness, compassionate grounds etc. will be entertained by the course director only when supported by written documentation (e.g. a doctor's letter).

Examinations: examinations may be held in any BES course in such form and manner as decided by the course director and as described in the approved course syllabus. Examinations are an essential part of the learning and evaluation process. They must be conducted under fair conditions which allow students to analyse, synthesize, and demonstrate what they have learned. Disruptions or attempts to obtain an unfair advantage are offences against due academic processes and carry severe penalties.

End of term restrictions: the total value of any test(s) or examination(s) given during the last two weeks of classes in a term must carry a combined weighting of no more that 20 per cent of the final mark for the course. Note: exceptions are made for some third- and fourth-year courses, such as seminars that often have one or two major assignments due at the end of the term.

Scheduling of tests: except where testing is conducted during individual appointments which accommodate a student's schedule (e.g. individually scheduled make-up tests), tests or examinations given during the term must be held within the hours regularly scheduled for the course in question.

Students' rights of refusal: students who are asked to write tests or examinations in contravention of the preceding two regulations may refuse to do so without academic penalty. They also have the right to raise the matter with the undergraduate program director.

General Regulations for Tests and Examinations

Identification: students who are being tested or examined are required to present their YU-card and/or an acceptable form of photographic identification when asked to do so by an instructor or invigilator. Acceptable forms of photographic identification include a valid driver's license with photograph attached, a valid passport or other certificate of citizenship with photograph attached.

Formally Scheduled Examinations

Final examination period: there is a final examination period at the end of each term, as published on the Current Students Web site.

Examination schedules: the dates, times and places of formally scheduled examinations are published each term on the Current Student's Web site ( Examinations may last two or three hours. Students are responsible for making themselves aware of the appropriate examination details.

Missed examinations: a student who misses an examination must contact the Office of Student and Academic Services or the Registrar’s Office within 48 hours of the examination. A student who wishes to write a make-up examination must petition for deferred standing in the course.

Supplemental examinations or rewriting of examinations: these are not allowed in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Once the final examination has been written or the major paper submitted, the course is considered to be completed. Examinations or papers cannot be rewritten to improve a final grade. There shall be no rewriting to improve a mark.

Assessment of Students in BES Courses

The course director shall assess students enrolled in each BES course in light of the requirements set at the beginning of the course as articulated in the course syllabus. These assessments shall be based on a combination of tests or formal examination(s), participation in classes, term work submitted, and other evidence as determined by the course director.

Marking Scheme

  • Announcement in class: the means of determining the final grade in a course shall be provided to students by the course director. Such information must include the types of assignments, essays, examinations, and other components, which make up the grade, their relative weight(s), and any other procedures, which enter into the determination of the final grade.
  • Subsequent changes: in exceptional circumstances, a previously announced marking scheme for a course may be changed, but only with the consent of all students and the approval of the undergraduate program director. The course director must distribute the new marking scheme in written form to the students.
  • Feedback during course: instructors are obliged to provide a mechanism by which students can be apprised of their progress in a course and that the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights or assignments, essays, exams etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and that, under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15 per cent of the final grade for fall, winter or summer term, and 30 per cent for “full year” courses offered in the fall/winter term be received by students in all courses prior to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade, with the following exceptions:
    • graduate or upper-level undergraduate courses where course work typically or at the instructor’s discretion, consists of a single piece of work and/or is based predominantly (or solely) on student presentations (e.g. honours theses or graduate research papers not due by the drop date etc.);
    • practicum courses;
    • ungraded courses;
    • courses in Faculties where the drop date occurs within the first three weeks of classes;
    • courses which run on a compressed schedule (a course which accomplishes its academic credits of work at a rate of more than one credit hour per two calendar weeks).

Note: under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations, as soon as possible.

Alternate Grading Method


Students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies can request a pass/fail option only after completing 24 credits. Courses taken under the pass/fail option will be annotated on their transcript as “Pass” or “Fail.” Neither of these grades will be calculated into their grade point average. The following rules apply to the pass/fail option:

  • only students who have good academic standing may choose this option (i.e. above 4.00 (C) or 5.00 (C+) grade point average, depending on degree program);
  • students are required to have completed 24 credits before requesting this option;
  • courses taken under this option may not be used to satisfy major, minor, general education or certificate requirements or 1000-level science courses;
  • students in the Honours BES program can take a maximum of 12 credits on the pass/fail option;
  • students in the 90-credit BES program may take a maximum of six credits on the pass/fail option;
  • students who intend to take a course on the pass/fail option must request to do so within the first two weeks of classes in the term in which the course is being offered;
  • students are required to fill out an application form - available at Student Client Services or online at the Current Students Web site ( The student will return the completed form with the course director's approval to Student Client Services;
  • students who select the pass/fail grading option can switch back to a graded option without academic penalties until the last day to drop the course.

Repeated Passed or Failed Courses

Students may repeat either a passed or failed course once for academic degree or certificate credit, only if the student has failed to achieve sufficient standing to proceed in a core or prerequisite course in a degree or certificate program and if no alternative remedies are provided (e.g. alternative qualifying examination). Students should note that course availability and space considerations may preclude the possibility of repeating a course in the session they choose.

A course can be credited only once towards satisfaction of degree or certificate academic credit requirements. When a student is allowed to repeat a course for academic degree or certificate credit, the second grade will be the grade of record and the only grade calculated in the students’ grade point average (major, cumulative, sessional and overall). The grade for the repeated course will remain the grade of record, regardless of the number of times that the course is repeated; the first instance of the course being taken will appear on the student’s transcript with the designation NCR (No Credit Retained).

A student must be declared eligible to proceed in a degree or certificate program in order to be eligible to repeat a course. Restrictions regarding repeating a passed or failed course also apply to cross-listed courses and course credit exclusions.

Students who repeated a passed course prior to fall 2004 may submit a petition to their home Faculty.

Grade Reappraisals

Reappraisal of Final BES Course Grades

Students may, with sufficient academic grounds, request that a final grade in a course be reappraised (which may mean the review of specific pieces of tangible work). Non-academic grounds are not relevant for grade reappraisals; in such cases, students are advised to petition to their home Faculty. Students are normally expected to first contact the course director to discuss the grade received and to request that their tangible work be reviewed. Tangible work may include written, graphic, digitized, modelled, video recording or audio recording formats, but not oral work.

Students need to be aware that a request for a grade reappraisal may result in the original grade being raised, lowered or confirmed.

In the event that students are still not satisfied with the final grade or the course director is not available to review the work, they may submit in writing a formal request for a grade reappraisal to the department or unit in which the course is offered*. The Senate approved deadline for submitting grade reappraisals is within three weeks of the release of final grade reports in any term. Exercising discretion about minor delays in meeting the deadline which result from slow mail delivery or extraordinary circumstances is reasonable.

*The exceptions are as follows:

  • For courses offered by Osgoode Hall Law School, Schulich School of Business and the Faculty of Education, the requests for reappraisal are submitted to the office of the relevant associate dean.
  • If the condition of sufficient academic grounds has been met, the relevant department committee, department Chair, associate dean or graduate/undergraduate program director will be responsible for ensuring that the work is reappraised by an appropriate faculty member, ensuring anonymity of both the student and the reappraiser and for communicating the result of the reappraisal (including the reappraiser's comments) and the route of appeal to both the student and the course director. The reappraiser will be given the nature of the assignment and the rationale for the original grade. It is expected that every effort will be made to render the decision within 30 days of the reviewer having received the work.

Date by Which to Request a Grade Reappraisal

Requests for grade reappraisals must be submitted by the scheduled date for the term in which a course is completed and the grade released.

Winter term - June 15

Summer term - September 30

Fall term - February 15

In all cases, a minimum of 21 days from the date of the release of grades will be allowed. Whenever the grade reappraisal reflects a grade change it will be annotated on the student's transcript.

Further Appeal for Reappraisal of a Final BES Course Grade

If the student is not satisfied with a reappraised final course grade, the procedure shall be as follows:

  • the course director and the student shall discuss the matter with the undergraduate program director, who may or may not arrange another reappraisal;
  • if the matter remains unresolved, the student may appeal the grade by petition on the appropriate form provided by the Office of Student and Academic Services to the BES program and Admissions Subcommittee, clearly stating the grounds for appeal;
  • the decision of the BES program and Admissions Subcommittee shall be final, and may be appealed to the FES Appeals Committee only on grounds of procedural irregularity.

Reappraisal of Grades Other Than Final Course Grades

If a student is not satisfied with any grade -- other than a final course grade -- received from an instructor or teaching assistant, the student is expected to discuss the matter (and at such time may request a reappraisal) with the person from whom the student received the grade, normally within two weeks. A reappraisal may result in a lower, higher or unchanged grade. If the student is not satisfied with the result of the reappraisal, the instructor or teaching assistant (where appropriate) shall discuss the matter with the course director. The course director shall decide whether or not to reappraise the student's work and the decision is final for all grades other than final course grades.

Deferred Standing

In some cases, students may be eligible for deferred standing (an extension) to write a test or final examination or to complete an assignment after the Faculty's deadline for submission of term work. Senate policy states that students must request deferred standing through the department responsible for the course within one week following a missed examination or the last day to submit course work.

Students are responsible for ensuring that full documentation (medical or other) is provided in support of a petition for deferred standing. Application forms are available at Student Client Services or online at the Current Students Web site (, under My Grades and Transcripts.

Aegrotat Standing

In cases where a student cannot be expected to complete the work for a course, the phrase “aegrotat standing” (from the Latin for “she/he is ill”) is substituted for a grade on the transcript. Aegrotat standing is seldom granted, and only in exceptional circumstances where deferred standing is inappropriate. For more information, please contact your course director.