Cumulative Credits / Total Credits

Total credits earned are used to determine a student's semester classification. Cumulative credits are used to calculate a student's grade points when grade-point average is determined. Total credits and cumulative credits are calculated every semester and reported on the student's grade report and transcript. Academic renewal requires a student's total credits and cumulative credits to be recalculated.

Total Credits

Total credits earned include Penn State credits successfully completed and indicated on the student's record by letter grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, or D; as well as courses satisfactorily completed under the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system, credits earned by examination, and research credits. Total credits also include credits accepted at Penn State that have been earned in other ways, for example, credits transferred to Penn State from another institution and credits earned through the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board.

Total credits exclude courses in which a grade of F was earned and audited courses.

Cumulative Credits

Cumulative credits include the number of credits scheduled at Penn State and retained on the student's schedule for a letter grade, even if a grade of F was earned.

Cumulative credits exclude credits earned by other means, for example, courses that were scheduled for satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading, credits earned by examination, credits earned with a research grade, credits earned at any other institution and transferred to Penn State, credits earned through the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board, and audited courses.


Reviewed: July 2014
Last Update: May 2009

Reference(s): Senate Policies 37-70, 51-00