Being a PhD student (in U.S), if one's adviser looked satisfied (if remarked "good" in satisfied mood) towards one's research during all the semester but at the end of semester rewards you "NO Grades" in your research-credits, what does it mean? And how to put one's surprise before him? (note that the same adviser awarded 'Progress' Grades in research in other semesters)

Secondly is it normal that PhD advisers do that while looking satisfied towards them?

  • Isn't there some information on your grade report on what "No grades" means? Like maybe he just forgot to assign them on time? Presumably you either sign up for credits on a pass/fail or letter grade system, and "No grades" doesn't sound like it falls within either. – Kimball Dec 26 '14 at 9:45
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    What does "No grades" mean at your institution? It may mean different things at different places. For example, at my undergraduate institution, satisfactory research work was often given no grade. – jakebeal Dec 26 '14 at 13:47
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    I don't see any problem with asking your professor about it. Maybe the professor forgot to assign a grade, for example? – Compass Dec 26 '14 at 14:22
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    Perhaps it's just a mistake (it's easy, for instance, when filling out online grade forms to accidentally click the wrong item on a tiny scroll-down menu). In any case, it seems like asking your professor politely is the first thing you should do. – Kimball Dec 26 '14 at 15:25
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    @kaka sounds like a mistake to me, then. I had an issue once where my professor assigned me the wrong grade in undergrad. I freaked out, contacted the professor, who apologized for freaking me out and fixed it for me. – Compass Dec 26 '14 at 16:24

Before jumping to conclusions, first review your university's grading policy. There may have been changes to the classification system.

If, after reviewing it, you find that the grade is indeed "negative," then you need to have a conversation with your advisor. Do not come with an accusatory tone, as that will end badly for everyone. I would ask something like:

"I'm a little confused about my thesis grade. I thought I was making satisfactory progress this semester. Could you explain what I need to do to improve?"

This will give your advisor an "out" if there was just an administrative mixup (for example, if it's a bubble form that was improperly filled out) or some other problem. On the other hand, if there's something serious, then you'll know. But usually a good advisor will level with you if there's serious issues in your work.

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