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Grades and the Grading System

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Calculating the Grade-Point-Average (GPA)
Change of Grade
Academic Renewal
The University of Arizona Grading System
A* Excellent
B* Good
C* Satisfactory
D* Poor
E* Failure
P Passing (special S/P and P/F grade)
F Failure (special P/F grade)
S Superior (special S/P grade)
I Incomplete
K Course in progress
W/P Approved withdrawal from the University while passing
W/F Approved withdrawal from the University while failing
W Approved withdrawal from a course
O Audit
WO Audit withdrawal, see audit policy
XO Audit administrative withdrawal, see audit policy
Y No Grade Submitted
CR Credit

* Included in calculation of the grade-point-average.


Regular and Special Grades

"A", "B", "C", "D", and "E" constitute the regular grades used at the University of Arizona. All individual studies courses and some small group courses use special grades:  "S" (superior) and "P" (pass).  See Grades Available for House-Numbered Courses (independent study, colloquium, internships, etc) for details.

Alternative Grading:

(Policy updated 5/2/08 with the addition of S, P, F grading system)

S (superior) and P (pass) grades are used in place of regular grades A and B, respectively, for courses graded S, P, C, D, E and S, P, E, K.   S and P grades are NOT included in the calculation of the GPA, nor do they count toward meeting the criteria for dean's list, honorable mention, or academic distinctions.

S, P, C, D, E grading:  for several house numbered courses (proseminar, colloquium, etc), one of the grading systems available is the combination of special and regular grades (S, P, C, D, E).  *

S, P, E, K grading:  some 900-level house numbered courses use this grading system.  In these cases, the grades S and P are used in place of regular grades A and B, respectively, and students not attaining B level course work receive the failing grade of E.  See K Course in Progress below.

S, P, F grading:  For the majority of individual studies courses, the only grades available are the special grades of S, P, F.  Grades of S (superior), P (pass), and F (fail) are not included in the calculation of the GPA, nor do they count toward meeting the criteria for dean's list, honorable mention, or academic distinctions.

Medical grades:  all 800-level courses offered by the College of Medicine are graded on an honors/pass/fail system (S, P, F, K).  See the External Link Medicine Catalog for more information.

Law grades:  law students please consult the External Link College of Law.

* NOTE: For house numbered courses with a choice of grading systems (senior capstone, colloquium, etc.), an instructor may have the option of awarding regular grades only (A,B,C,D,E) or the combination of special and regular grades (S,P,C,D,E), as departmental policy dictates.  However, in any single class offering, all registrants must be graded by the same system.

Pass/Fail Option

For certain courses, a qualified student may elect to register under the pass/fail option. Under such registration, the only final grades available to the student are "P" (pass) or "F" (fail).

Undergraduate students may elect to take courses under the pass/fail option only after they have attained sophomore standing and only if they have earned grade-point-averages of 2.000 or better.

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.

Undergraduate students may register under the pass/fail option for not more than two courses per semester up to a maximum of 12 courses. Further, they must carry a minimum of 12 units of regular grades other than "P/F" during each semester in which they elect courses under the pass/fail option. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the student's academic dean.

Courses taken under the pass/fail option must be electives only, and may not be used to fulfill major, minor, or other specified curriculum requirements.

The pass/fail option is not generally available to graduate students. The only exceptions to this proscription are: (a) admission deficiencies which the student has prior specific, written approval to take on a "P/F" basis (only the department head or the departmental graduate adviser may give such approval, which must be on file in the Graduate College office before registration); (b) any undergraduate non-deficiency course available for "P/F" grading; and (c) any course offered by the College of Law.

Each department decides which of its courses will be available under the pass/fail option. Pass/fail courses in the 500, 600, or 700 series may be offered only in law. Further, the instructor of the course must approve of its being offered pass/fail. The instructor shall be informed by the Office of Curriculum and Registration which students are enrolled under the pass/fail option.

Students may change from pass/fail enrollment to enrollment for a regular grade, or vice versa, only during the time period prior to the last day of the fourth calendar week during which classes are held, except with special permission of the student's college dean.

If a course is taken under the pass/fail option, the grade of "P" or "F" will be permanently recorded. However, neither grade will be included in the average. If the course is passed, the units of credit will be applied toward graduation.

College of Medicine -- All courses in the College of Medicine are graded on a superior/pass (S/P) system for medical students.

Teaching and Teacher Education -- Pass/fail grades are the only grades available for 493A and 493B. Enrollment in these courses will not reduce the amount for which a student can otherwise enroll under the pass/fail option.

Incomplete Grade:
(Policy updated May 26, 2004: circumstances when the ďIĒ grade is not to be awarded; June 12, 2006:  circumstance for filing General Petition.)

The grade of I may be awarded only at the end of a term, when all but a minor portion of the course work has been satisfactorily completed. 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 a case, a grade other than I must be assigned.  Students should make arrangements with the instructor to receive an incomplete grade before the end of the term.

Instructors are encouraged to use the External LinkReport of Incomplete Grade form as a contract with the student as to what course work must be completed by the student for the I grade to be removed and replaced with a grade. On the form, the instructor states:  (1) which assignments or exams should be completed and when; (2) how this work will be graded; and (3) how the student's course grade will be calculated. Both the instructor and student sign this agreement and both should retain copies.

After the course work is completed, the instructor should assign the appropriate grade on a Change of Grade form and submit it to the Office of the Registrar for processing. After processing, the new grade will be included in the calculation of the GPA.

If the incomplete grade is not removed by the instructor within one year (the last day of finals one year later), the I grade will convert to a failing grade. For undergraduate courses, the one-year limit may be extended for one additional year if, prior to converting to an E, the extension is approved by the instructor and the dean of the college in which the student is registered. This extension requires the instructor and dean's signature on a Petition for Extension of Course Work.  Notification of the dean's approval or denial is to be provided to the student by the dean's office.  A copy of the approved or denied Petition must then be forwarded from the dean's office to the Office of the Registrar, Administration 210, for appropriate processing.  Once the I has converted to an E, a one-year extension will only be considered if the student submits an appeal to the University General Petition Committee.  Additionally, a request for an extension of time beyond 2 academic years of the original course enrollment requires approval by the General Petition Committee.  For courses taken for graduate credit, such approval may be granted only by the Graduate College.

 "K"  Course in Progress

The grade of "K" may be awarded by the instructor for 900-level courses when the course continues for longer than one semester. Students must re-enroll for these courses each semester. "K" grades remain on the student's permanent record until removed with a final grade but do not enter into the calculation of the grade-point-average. Time-limit for completion of such work for full credit for the master's degree is six years; for the doctoral degree, ten years.

The grade of "K" is assigned for all supplementary registration (930) at the time of enrollment and will remain permanently on the student's academic record.

For any course, other than the 900 series, that requires more than one semester for completion, the grade of "K" is awarded by the External Link Office of Curriculum and Registration at the end of the semester and carried to the next semester.

"W"  Withdrawal Grade:  Dropping a Course

Prior to the end of the fourth week of classes, official withdrawal (drop) of a course cancels the registration for the course. A deanís approval is not required. No grade for the course will appear on the studentís permanent record. During weeks five through eight, the grade of "W" is awarded to students who are passing at the time of withdrawal. The grade of "E" may be awarded to students not passing at the time of withdrawal. Either "W" or "E" will show on the studentís permanent record.

After the eighth week of classes, the grade of "W" can be awarded only with the approval of the studentís academic dean, and only under exceptional circumstances. The "W" may also be awarded in the case of complete withdrawal from the University.

"W/P" and "W/F"  Withdrawal Grades:  Complete Withdrawal from the University

In the case of complete Withdrawal from the University, if a student withdraws before the end of the 4th week of classes in Fall/Spring (end of the 1st week in a Summer term), no classes show on the student's transcript for the semester/term. If a student withdraws from the University between the 5th week of classes in Fall/Spring (2nd week in a Summer term) and the last day of classes for the semester/term, the faculty member for each course may assign a grade of "W/P" (withdrawal while passing), or "W/F" (withdrawal while failing). Neither grade is used to calculate the GPA. The refund schedule is listed for each semester/term in the Schedule of Classes' External Link Important Dates and Deadlines calendar..


"O"  Audit Grade

The grade of "O", with no grade-point value, is awarded for courses taken for audit. This grade is not awarded unless the student is registered for audit.  See the audit policy for detailed information.


"Y"  No Grade Submitted

The grade of "Y" is issued to all students in a course whose instructor failed to meet the grade reporting deadline at the end of the term. This grade will not be issued to any student in a course if other students in the same course were awarded grades by the instructor.


Calculating the Grade-Point-Average  or  Averaging of Grades
(Policy updated 1/10/06) Wording change to clarify calculation of cumulative GPA

For the purpose of computing grade-point-averages, grade points are assigned to each grade as follows:

Grade: Grade points for
each semester unit:
A 4 points
B 3 points
C 2 points
D 1 points
E 0 points

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 Special Examination for Grade, where regular grades are awarded. Ordinarily cumulative GPAs are calculated using only the courses at the career level of the student. For example, the undergraduate GPA is based on undergraduate courses only (see Graduate Credit for Seniors, Grade Replacement Opportunity, and Academic Renewal for exceptions).


Change of Grade

Within one (1) year of the awarding of the grade, final grades may be changed by the instructor on a change-of-grade form, only if there has been an error in computation . The grade change must be approved by the head of the instructor's department.


Academic Renewal

Under certain circumstances an undergraduate student may apply to the External Link Office of Curriculum and Registration for academic renewal. Academic renewal allows students to have grades for a particular period of time excluded from the grade-point-average. If the qualifications are met, the student may have a maximum of four consecutive semesters of course work disregarded in all calculations regarding academic standing, grade-point-average, and eligibility for graduation. If summer work is to be included in the work to be disregarded, a five-week summer term shall count as one-half semester.

To qualify for academic renewal, the following conditions must be met:

  • At the time the request is filed, a minimum of five years shall have elapsed since the most recent course work to be disregarded was completed.
  • In the interval between the completion of the most recent course work to be disregarded and the filing of the request, the student shall have completed a minimum of 30 units of regularly graded course work at the University with a minimum grade-point-average of 2.500 on all work completed at the University in that interval.
  • If more than one semester or term is to be disregarded, these shall be consecutive, completed within a maximum of two calendar years, and with no intervening enrollments at the University. The maximum of two calendar years may be extended by one semester if the time period includes a semester of involuntary absence by reason of disqualification.

If the student satisfies the conditions under this policy, the Office of Curriculum and Registration will annotate the student's permanent academic record to indicate that no work taken during the disregarded semester(s) or term(s), even if satisfactory, may apply toward graduation. However, all work will remain on the record, ensuring a true and accurate academic history.

Academic renewal may be effected only once during a student's undergraduate academic career and is not available to students who have completed requirements for a bachelor's degree.


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Page last updated:  September 21, 2007
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