Most SPU course are graded according to the normal grading system outlined below; however, some courses allow students to select an alternative grade mode, or offer only the alternative P/NC grading. Unless an exception is noted, normal grading is required for courses that apply to graduate program requirements, as outlined in Standards of Scholarship for Master's Degrees and Standards of Scholarship for Doctoral Degrees.

Normal Grading

In the normal grading mode, the quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter grade, which is counted in points. Grade points (or quality points) are the numerical equivalent of letter grades and are assigned for each credit earned according to the scale below. 

Your grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned during a given period by the number of credits for which you were enrolled and received a regular grade. Learn how to calculate your GPA.

Except in cases of clerical error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has submitted to Student Academic Services. A student may not do additional work after the quarter ends in order to improve the final grade. Grade changes may be made no more than one quarter after the grade was issued. See Academic Appeals for details about the process for appealing a course grade.

Normal Grading

Grade Points Explanation
A 4.0 Excellent attainment
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0 Highly satisfactory attainment
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0 Satisfactory attainment
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0 Insufficient attainment with credit allowed
E 0.0 Failure

Alternative Grading

Grade Points Explanation
P 0.0 Pass (used only with the pass/no credit option)
NC  0.0 No credit (used only with the pass/no credit option)
AU  0.0 Audit 

Temporary Grades

I   Incomplete
G   In progress

Grades for Withdrawal

HW   Hardship Withdrawal
W   Withdrawal with official approval

Alternative grading: P/NC and AU

Pass/no-credit option

  • A “P” grade in this option must be at least equivalent to a “C” grade (2.0).
  • 6000- and 7000-level courses may not be taken for P/NC. Exceptions to this policy include: courses in the MFA-Creative Writing program, and any of these courses applied toward dual degree programs; and thesis, dissertation, research, and projects courses in any program, at the discretion of the academic school or department. 


With instructor permission, a student may audit most 6000-level and many 7000-level courses. Students pay regular tuition to audit a course. Students do not receive credit for an audited course.

Students must register to audit a course in person in Student Academic Services in Demaray Hall 151 before 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter, as published in the Academic Calendar

Find more information regarding auditing a course, including limitations on class participation.

Temporary grades: I, G, HW, W

“I” grade (incomplete): Indicates the student did not complete the work assigned for a course because of absence from school during the quarter due to illness or an acceptable emergency. The student must initiate the request for the “I” grade prior to the final examination or last class session. Unless the student is incapacitated, the Agreement for Incomplete Grade form should be completed. Documentation verifying the illness or acceptable emergency (e.g., a note from a medical doctor) may be required by the instructor. 

A student cannot carry more than 20 credits of incomplete grades without prior approval from the registrar.

The instructor is under no obligation to grant the request for an “I” grade. However, if the instructor chooses to issue an “I” grade, the instructor and student must formulate a plan for the student’s completion of the course requirements.

The student may not attend a future class in which she or he is not registered as a means of working toward completion of an “I” grade. 

A timeline for course completion will be determined by the instructor. However, the student must submit final coursework within one calendar year or the “I” becomes an “E.” The student must initiate the removal of the “I” grade once coursework has been completed. A student who has an "I" grade that has not yet been converted to a final, regular grade may not enroll in a course with the same subject code and course number.

“G” grade: Used only in specified courses in which a final grade is dependent upon additional work and applies only to approved 6000–7000 level courses, including internships, theses, dissertation, and projects at the discretion of the graduate program. Work must be completed within three calendar years or the “G” becomes permanent.

“HW”: The hardship withdrawal is assigned in rare cases by SPU administration after thorough review and substantiation of a student’s circumstances. Examples of situations leading to a hardship withdrawal include incapacitating illness or injury, or death of a family member. 

“W”: Withdrawal with official approval during weeks two through seven will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript. (See Withdrawal From Courses.)

A student’s degree will be awarded effective the quarter in which the final grade for the degree is assigned.