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Grades & the Grading System

Grades & the Grading System

Most courses at the University are graded with regular grades. Exceptions include: most house-numbered courses (independent study, colloquium, etc.) and some law, medicine, pharmacy and public health courses. Course descriptions indicate a course's available grading basis.

Regular Grades:

A, B, C, D, and E constitute the regular grades used at the University of Arizona for undergraduate, graduate, law, and pharmacy courses.  Regular grades are included in the calculation of the grade-point-average (GPA).

  • The College of Law employs the use of plus and minus grades; A+, E+, and E- are not options in this grading system. For purposes of raising grades on the basis of class participation, an instructor's discretion is limited to raising a grade by one grade increment only. For example, a B- may be raised only to a B, and a B+ only to an A-. These plus/minus grades are limited to courses and students in the Juris Doctorate program.

The grade-point average is the arithmetic mean of the grade points earned for all credits taken at the University of Arizona for University Credit or by Credit by Exam, where regular grades are awarded. Ordinarily cumulative GPAs are calculated using only the courses at the program level of the student. For example, the undergraduate GPA is based on undergraduate courses only (see Graduate Credit for Seniors, Grade Replacement Opportunity, and Second Start Readmission, Academic Renewal for exceptions).

Some courses may require the student to have earned a minimum grade of C in pre-requisite courses. It is recommended that students check the requisites and enrollment requirements in the Schedule of Classes or Course Catalog when registering or planning their class schedules.

Alternative Grading:

S, P, F grading:  Superior/Pass/Fail grades are typically assigned for individual studies courses. These grades are not included in the calculation of GPA and do not meet criteria for Undergraduate Dean's List, Honors & Awards.

  • For house numbered courses with a choice of grading systems (senior capstone, colloquium, etc.), departments have the option of awarding regular grades (A, B, C, D, E) or alternative grades (S,P,F) as departmental policy dictates. All students enrolled in the same section of a course must be graded by the same system.

  • Faculty are required to assign an S, P, or F grade for dissertation/thesis units each term the student is enrolled, to reflect the work completed during that term. As with all courses, the option of awarding an I remains available in extenuating circumstances.

Medical Grades: Pre-clerkship courses are graded on a pass/ fail basis. Clerkship courses are graded on an honors/ high pass/ pass/ fail system (H, HP, P, F). See the College of Medicine Grading System for more information.

Pass/Fail Option:

For certain courses, a student may elect to register under the Pass/ Fail option. If a course is taken under the pass/fail option, the grade of P or F will be permanently recorded. Pass/ Fail grades are NOT included in the GPA.

  • Students registering for a course under the pass/fail option must meet the prerequisites or otherwise satisfy the instructor of their ability to take the course.

  • Students may change from Pass/ Fail enrollment to enrollment for a regular grade, or vice versa, until the deadline specified on Dates and Deadlines. Exceeding this deadline requires special permission of the student's college dean through the Change of Schedule process.

  • Each department determines which of its courses will be available under the Pass/ Fail option, subject to approval by  the instructor of the course.

  • Enrollment in courses that offer only Pass/ Fail grades will not count toward the student's maximum Pass/ Fail option courses per term of accumulatively.

  • Graduate students may take courses offered by the College of Law for Pass/ Fail for graduate credit.



Pass Definition

P = work comparable to a D or better

P = work comparable to a C or better

Limits on Use

  • May use P/F Option for up to 12 courses accumulatively*

  • May not be used to fulfill general education, major, minor, or other specified curriculum requirements

  • May use P/F Option for 2 courses per term

  • Credit may be applied toward the degree at the discretion of the student's major advisor

* Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the student's academic dean through the Change of Schedule process.

I Incomplete Grade:

The grade of I may be awarded only at the end of a term, when the following criteria is met:

  • all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed

  • the student is unable to finish due to extenuating circumstances

  • it would be possible for the student to earn a passing grade once the remaining coursework is completed

Instructor discretion is used to confirm the above criteria. The grade of I is not to be awarded in place of a failing grade or when the student is expected to repeat the course; in such cases, a grade other than must be assigned.  Students should work with the instructor to receive an incomplete grade before the end of the class.

Instructors must use the Report of Incomplete Grade process as a contract with the student, documenting the course work that must be completed by the student for the I grade to be removed and replaced with a grade.

After the course work is completed, the instructor will assign the appropriate grade. The new grade will be included in the calculation of the student's GPA.

If the incomplete grade is not removed by the instructor by the last day of finals one year later, the I grade will convert to a failing grade.

  • Prior to conversion from an I to a failing grade:

    • For undergraduate courses, an extension of one additional year may be granted if approved by the instructor and the dean of the student's college.

    • For graduate courses, the one-year extension must be approved by the instructor and Graduate College dean through a Petition for Extension of Course Work.

  • After conversion from an I to a failing grade:

    • For undergraduate courses, an extension will only be considered if the student submits an appeal to the University General Petition Committee.

    • For graduate courses, an extension beyond 2 academic years may be considered only by the Graduate College.

W Withdrawal, Dropping a Course:

A grade of W is assigned when a student withdraws from (drops) a course after the specified deadline. The W will appear on the student's permanent record but does not affect the student's grade-point-average (GPA). For more information, see the Change of Schedule policy.

WC Withdrawal, Complete Withdrawal and Retroactive Withdrawal from the University:

The grade of WC (withdrawal-complete) is awarded for all classes processed in the complete withdrawal.  WC grades are NOT included in the GPA .

For more information, see Leaving the University.

O Audit Grade:

The grade of O is awarded for courses taken for audit.  Audit grades are not awarded unless the student is registered for audit. Audit grades are NOT included in the GPA.  See the audit policy for details and the use of WO and XO grades.

CR Credit:

The grade of CR is a passing grade awarded for courses taken by Credit by Exam. Failing grades are not recorded.  The CR grade is NOT included in the GPA.

MG Missing Grade - No Grade Submitted:

The MG grade indicator is entered when an instructor fails to submit grades for all students in a course by the grade reporting deadline. If grades are issued for some but not all students in a class, those students who were not awarded a grade by the instructor will have the 'MG' indicator applied by the Office of the Registrar.

Related Guidelines & Links:

Related Policies: