Transcript Key

General Information

The transcript key provides guidance on how to read the grades, symbols, and course numbers that appear on an official transcript issued by the University of Pennsylvania. The official University transcript may vary based on the system of record at the time a student attended. Additional details about all academic programs at Penn as well as important policies, resources, and information on courses at all levels of study can be found in the University Catalog.

Course Numbering System

Effective Summer 2022


Undergraduate courses


Mixed courses primarily for undergraduate students


Mixed courses primarily for graduate students


Graduate courses


Graduate individual study (thesis/dissertation) courses

Prior to Summer 2022


Undergraduate courses


Mixed courses primarily for undergraduate students


Mixed courses primarily for graduate students


Graduate courses


Graduate individual study (thesis/dissertation) courses

Course Units, Semester Hours, Credit Hours, Continuing Education Credits

All of Penn’s undergraduate programs and many of its graduate and professional programs use Course Units (CU) as a general measurement of academic work and progress towards a degree. A Course Unit generally represents one course that meets for three hours per week of class time, four hours of laboratory, or five hours of class time in beginning language courses, in a course that lasts for one term (semester).

Effective Spring 2014, one Course Unit should be converted to semester hours at a ratio of 1:4. Prior to Spring 2014, one Course Unit should be converted to semester hours at a ratio of 1:3. A semester hour is defined as one hour per week of class time per term, or equivalent in other course related activities.

The Semester Hour (SH) is a unit of measurement used by the Law School. Semester Hours are converted to Couse Units at a 3:1 ratio.

The Credit Hour (CR) is a unit of measurement used by the Schools of Dental Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Credit Hours are converted to Course Units at a 6:1 ratio.

A Continuing Education Credit (CE) is a measure used in non-traditional continuing education programs. A Continuing Education Credit recognizes professional credits earned based on continuing education courses. CE credits are independent from degree granting programs. The Penn Literacy Network’s professional development programs uses Continuing Education Credits.

Penn Equivalent Credit includes internal and external transfer credit, advanced placement credit, and credit by examination.

Transcript Symbols and Notations


E Hrs Earned Hours
CE Hrs Earned Hours (Continuing Ed Only)
GPA-Hrs Grade Point Average Hours
QPts Quality Points

In the column labeled ‘R’ prior to Summer of 2022, an ‘E’ indicates the course was excluded from credit. Beginning Summer 2022, an ‘E’ indicates the course was repeated and excluded from credit and an ‘I’ indicates it was a repeated course that was included for credit.

Courses for which no credit is awarded appear with parentheses around their credit value, for example (1.00).

An (H) at the end of a course title indicates an honors course. An H or GH preceding the course number also indicates an honors course. A (BFS) at the end of a course title indicates a Benjamin Franklin Seminar course.

Effective Fall 2023, the University of Pennsylvania ceased awarding Dean's List.

Grade Point Average

Not all Penn schools use grade point averages on the transcript. When a grade point average is calculated, the grade point average is computed by dividing the number of quality points by the number of GPA hours (GPA= Qpts/GPA-Hrs). GPA hours are accumulated in graded courses. Quality points are determined by multiplying the GPA hours associated with a course by the grade points.


Interpreting Grades

Grades by School

The various schools and divisions of the University use different grading systems on the transcript.  Find the specific grade systems that apply to each school below.

To Test for Authenticity

The signature of the University Registrar appears on all official transcripts. Document should be rejected if the signature is missing or distorted. The word COPY will appear if an electronic transcript is forwarded, and VOIDSECURE will appear if a paper transcript is copied or scanned. Official transcripts cannot be released to a third-party without the written consent of the student. This is in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Alteration of an official document may be a criminal offense. If you have any questions about a transcript you received, please contact the Office of the University Registrar at