Graduation, academic standing, and certain academic honors are all dependent on various grade point averages: semester grade point average, cumulative grade point average, discipline grade point average or major grade point average. The Catalog explains how semester GPA is calculated by converting the letter grades F to A to the 4.00 scale used by many colleges and universities. Semester GPA is the average point grade per credit in all courses in a semester graded on this scale (Grades of P, NP, W do not affect GPA). Cumulative GPA is the average grade point for all such courses taken at Plymouth. (Plymouth accepts transfer credits from other colleges and universities, but does not transfer in grades, so GPA is always based only on courses taken at PSU.) Discipline grade point average is the average grade point for all courses taken with a certain discipline code (i.e., Political Science majors must have a 2.5 average in all Political Science (PO) courses.)
In 1997, the Faculty agreed to a common definition of major GPA to go into effect beginning with the class of 1998:
Grade point average in the major will be based on: all specific courses (except EN 1200) listed as required, any other courses elected beyond the required minimum number from an identified group, plus any others in the central discipline which are elected.
Plymouth allows students to repeat courses in which grades of C- or lower are earned. When a course is repeated, the new grade replaces the old in calculation of the cumulative GPA (even in the unfortunate case where the new grade is lower!). Students in academic difficulty are routinely advised to repeat courses in which low grades were earned—since the old grades drop out of the calculation, the cumulative GPA can be raised much faster than it can by taking new courses.