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Grading Standards


TO: Finance Faculty (regular, visiting, and adjunct faculty, and instructors)

FROM: David Yermack, Finance Dept. Chair; Richard Levich, Finance Dept. Deputy Chair

DATE:November 30, 2016

SUBJECT: Suggested Undergraduate Grading Standards for the Department of Finance

This memo lays out the Department of Finance policy on suggested grading standards in the undergraduate program effective Fall 2016 and reaffirms Department policies that go back more than 15 years. (Note that MBA program grading guidelines, described elsewhere on this website, are unchanged.)

Our reputation depends in part on the ability of prospective employers to quickly ascertain that a student really understands financial theory and practice, and has the technical capability to use the tools learned in finance courses. It is part of your responsibility as a faculty member at New York University to evaluate student understanding of the materials in your course with examinations or written assignments that are sufficiently demanding to reveal differential performance.

For the core course, Foundations of Finance, for sections with enrollments of more than 25 students, we expect that approximately 35% of students will receive an “A” or “A-” grade. This policy is consistent with the Stern School guidelines for grading in core courses as posted at

For elective courses, the Stern faculty has agreed that the individual instructor or department is responsible for determining reasonable grading guidelines. The Department of Finance guidelines are that instructors should award grades of “A” or “A-” to approximately 35% of students in these courses.