Undergraduate and Graduate
This section explains grades and grade point averages along with our the NAU standards for academic integrity.
In the NAU grading system, students can receive the following grades:
*Please note that some courses have mandatory pass-fail grading. However, most graduate courses are graded on a letter-grade basis, and students may not elect a pass-fail option in graduate courses that are graded on a letter-grade basis.
To provide students with early feedback and allow them to work with faculty and academic support staff to improve their academic performance, Northern Arizona University provides mid-term grades in certain undergraduate courses during fall and spring terms. Students can find mid-term grades for 100- and 200-level courses in the LOUIE system (nau.edu/LOUIE). (Be aware that each instructor must evaluate academic performance and convey to the student a clear understanding of the student's progress before the deadline for withdrawing from sixteen-week courses, which is usually the end of the ninth week of the term, whether or not mid-term grades are provided in that course. See the Registrar's website for exact dates.)
At the end of each term, the instructor does a final evaluation of the student's work and submits a letter grade to indicate how well the student has met the course objectives. Final grades can be found in the LOUIE system. (Please be aware that NAU makes grades available to the student's advisor and Northern Arizona University's Dean of Students as well as to the Arizona high school and/or community college the student previously attended, if applicable.)
Note that grades for courses ending in an "x" are not used to compute grade point averages or to fulfill graduation requirements.
At the end of each term, instructors do a final evaluation of the student's work and turn in a letter grade to the Registrar's Office to indicate how well the student has met the course objectives. (Each faculty member must also evaluate the student before the middle of the term and provide a clear understanding of the student's progress in the course at that time.)
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 Policies.
Generally, credits earned on a Pass-Fail basis do not count toward major, minor, liberal studies requirements, and diversity requirements.
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 permission from your advisor and the Graduate College, graduate students may elect Pass-Fail grading:
- for an undergraduate course that you don't take for credit, such as a course taken to satisfy a deficiency in your preparation for a graduate plan; or
- for an undergraduate course taken for personal enrichment if you are a non-degree graduate student with the permission of the course instructor and the Graduate College.
Undergraduate Students Only
The "A"–Pass-Fail option may make it easier for students to take undergraduate courses outside their major field, register for National Student Exchange, or complete a study abroad, because it does not affect overall grade point average, except when the student earns a grade of "A" or "F." In other words, if students enroll in a letter grade course for the "A"–Pass-Fail option, they receive an "A" when they earn that grade; grades "B," "C," and "D" appear on the transcript as a "P"; and they receive an "F" when they earn that grade.
Students may use this option if they 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, students must make a request through the Registrar's Office and get your advisor's approval.
Students can use up to 24 units of "A"–Pass-Fail course work for a baccalaureate degree, including no more than two courses in a single field.
The "A"–Pass-Fail option may not be used 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.
Students 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 students enroll in a course under the "A"–Pass-Fail option and receive a grade of "P," they may not request a change to a letter grade.
In-Progress or Incomplete Grades
Please see In-Progress or Incomplete Grades, Undergraduate, for additional information on these options.
Please see In-Progress or Incomplete Grades, Graduate for additional information on these options.
Auditing a Course
Students who wish to audit a course may refer to Auditing A Course for further information on this option.
Personalized Learning - Undergraduate and Graduate
In the NAU Personalized Learning grading system, students can receive the following grades:
To provide students with early feedback and allow them to work with faculty and academic support staff to improve their academic performance, Northern Arizona University Personalized Learning provides on-going feedback throughout the 6-month subscription. Students working through lessons in their Personalized Learning courses, receive grades and feedback with each lesson submission, project or test.
Students progress through courses and degree programs at their own individualized pace. Enrollment is at the course level and students work through lessons in the course. A score of 86% on a lesson denotes competency. At successful completion of all lesson requirements (Pretest or Posttest, Assignment, and Essay), with a score of 86% or higher, the student is offered the opportunity to achieve Mastery. Depending on the course, students can demonstrate mastery through certification, a test, a presentation, a paper, case study, or other form of assessment. Students achieving 95% or higher on the Mastery assessment receive Mastery Status.
After passing all lesson requirements (Pretest or Posttest, Assignment, and Essay), if the student chooses not to pursue Mastery or does not achieve Mastery, he or she will receive a grade of “B” in the lesson toward the overall grade in the course. If the student achieves Mastery, he or she receives an “A” toward the overall grade in the course if 50% or more of the course lessons are at the mastery level.
Students progress through courses and degree programs and complete coursework at their own individualized pace to successful completion. Enrollment is at the course level and students work through lessons in the course. For PL graduate programs, all students are required to gain Mastery level competency through project-based work.
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.
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
Graduate Students can appeal or petition for exception
Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which no specific appeal or petition process exists. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. When applicable, the student’s advisor and department chair may endorse the petition letter. In some specific instances, utilizing the Graduate Academic Appeal Policy is more appropriate.
Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for clarification on which process to initiate.