All students

Grades of Pass-Fail or "A"-Pass/Fail

Policy Number: 100405

Current Policy

Category: Academic » Grading



Pass-Fail Policy

Some undergraduate courses offered by Northern Arizona University have mandatory pass-fail grading.

  • You receive a Pass ("P") grade if you earn the letter-grade equivalent of an "A," "B," "C," or "D;"
  • You receive a Failing ("F") grade if you earn the letter grade equivalent of an "F."

Credits earned (Passed) in a course taken on a Pass-Fail basis are not used in calculating your grade point average; however, such credits do count toward meeting the units required for graduation. A grade of "F" (Failed) will be used in calculating your GPA. These units are included in the attempted credit units for GPA calculation. See "Grading-General."

Generally, credits earned on a Pass-Fail basis do not count toward major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

Graduate Students

Pass-Fail grading is not available for any graduate course that is normally graded with a letter grade, including a co-convened course.

However, with appropriate permissions, graduate students may elect Pass-Fail grading:

  • for an undergraduate course that is not taken for credit (perhaps to satisfy a deficiency in preparation for a graduate plan); or 
  • for an undergraduate course taken for personal enrichment, as by a non-degree graduate student.

See General Procedure for required permissions.

"A"–Pass/Fail Policy (for Undergraduates Only)

The "A"–Pass/Fail option may make it easier for you to take undergraduate courses outside your major field, register for National Student Exchange, or complete a study abroad program, because it does not affect your overall grade point average, except when you earn a grade of "A" or "F." In other words, if you enroll in a letter grade course for the "A"–Pass/Fail option, you receive an "A" when you earn that grade; grades "B," "C," and "D" appear on your transcript as a "P"; and you receive an "F" when you earn that grade.

You may use this option if you have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 or have a 3.0 for 12-or-more units from the preceding term. To use this option, you must make a request through the Registrar’s Office and get your advisor’s approval.

You can use up to 24 units of "A"–Pass/Fail course work for your baccalaureate degree, including no more than two courses in a single field.

You may not use the "A"–Pass/Fail option for:

  • professional courses in teacher education,
  • courses in your major or minor field,
  • liberal studies courses,
  • repeated courses, or
  • honors courses.

Furthermore, required courses that utilize the pass-fail grading option are not counted towards this 24-unit option.

You may change from the "A"–Pass/Fail option to regular grading or vice versa during the first five weeks of a regular term, the first two weeks of a five-week session, and a proportionate time period for a course of other duration. If you enroll in a course under the "A"–Pass/Fail option and receive a grade of "P," you may not request a change to a letter grade.

Petitioning After the Deadline

A class may be changed to "A"-Pass/Fail after the deadline, using the "Petition to Change to "A"-Pass/Fail after the Deadline" form, and before a final grade is issued, providing the student’s advisor, instructor, department chair, and the dean approve this petition. The Department Chair must be from the Department where the class is offered and the Dean from the School/College where the class is offered. Once all approvals are secured, this form must be returned to the Registrar’s Office.

General Procedure


If an undergraduate student wishes to petition for “A”-Pass/Fail grading option, he/she must:

  • Fill out the Request for "A"-Pass/Fail form found on the Registrar’s website
  • Get his/her advisor approval and signature on the form
  • Turn request into the Registrar’s Office for processing


Graduate students who wish to elect Pass-Fail grading for an undergraduate course that will not be taken for credit (such as a course taken to satisfy a deficiency in preparation for a graduate plan), must obtain approval from:

  • his/her advisor; and
  • the Graduate College

Non-degree graduate students who wish to take an undergraduate course for personal enrichment  must obtain permission from:

  • the course instructor; and
  • the Graduate College

Students can petition for exception

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which there is no specific petition process. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. The student’s letter of petition should be endorsed by his/her advisor and department chair.

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