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Type: Grading
Effective Date: 9/24/2013

Grading Policies

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:

  • A — excellent
  • B — above average
  • C — average
  • D — below average
  • F — fail
  • P — credit*
  • I — incomplete
  • W — withdraw
  • AU — audit
  • A — superior
  • B — satisfactory
  • C — lowest grade acceptable for graduate credit
    (See the Grade Point Average Requirements section.)
  • D — not acceptable for graduate credit
  • F — fail
  • P — pass*
  • I — incomplete
  • W — withdraw
  • AU — audit
  • IP — thesis, dissertation, final project, fieldwork, or internship

*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.

Undergraduate Grading

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 ( (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.

Graduate Grading

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.)

Pass-Fail Policy

Undergraduate Students

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, 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 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.

"A"-Pass-Fail Policies

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

Undergraduate students

Please see In-Progress or Incomplete Grades, Undergraduate, for additional information on these options.

Graduate students 

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.

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