Most SPU courses 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 major, minor, and general education requirements, as outlined in Limitations on Credit.

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 the Office of the Registrar. 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
N   In progress

Grades for withdrawal

HW   Hardship Withdrawal
W   Withdrawal with official approval

Use of I, N, HW, and W grades

The “I” grade (incomplete) indicates that 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 (PDF) for the “I” grade prior to the final examination or last class session. Unless the student is incapacitated, this request should be made in writing. Documentation verifying the illness or acceptable emergency (e.g., a note from a medical doctor) may be required by the instructor.

A student must be making satisfactory progress in the course at the time of the request for an “I” grade. 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 he or she 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 and may be shorter than one year. However, in all cases the student must submit final coursework to the instructor within one calendar year or the “I” becomes an “E.” 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.

The student must initiate the removal of  the "I" grade once coursework has been completed. A student cannot carry more than 20 credits of incomplete grades without prior approval from the university registrar.

The “N” grade is used only in specified courses in which a final grade is dependent upon additional work. The “N” grade indicates that work is satisfactory to date but carries with it no credit or final grade until all work is completed. Work must be completed within one calendar year, or the “N” becomes permanent.

A student’s degree will be awarded effective the quarter in which all final grades have been assigned, regardless of when a student may have initially registered for a course in which the student received an “I” or “N” grade.

The “HW” grade is assigned in rare cases by University 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.

Withdrawal from a course with official approval during weeks two through eight of the quarter will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript.

Alternative Grading

Pass/No credit
  • Some courses allow the option of a grade of P/NC (Pass/No Credit) rather than a regular letter grade, and some courses provide only the P/NC grade mode.
  • The P grade, in either case mentioned above, must be equivalent to a grade of at least C (2.0).
  • If a course carries the P/NC option, students may register for that option in person in the Office of the Registrar, Demaray Hall 151, by completing a P/NC form no later than 4:00 p.m. on the tenth day of the quarter.  
  • The total number of credits toward the degree for which students may elect the P/NC option is based on the student's class standing at entrance to SPU, as specified in the schedule below. Limitations on transfer credits apply as well.
      • Freshman – 30 credits
      • Sophomore – 20 credits
      • Junior – 15 credits
      • Senior – 5 credits
    • Normally, students may opt to take no more than one P/NC course per quarter. However, a student may enroll in two courses graded P/NC if this is the only grade mode available for each course and at least one of the courses is required for the student's program of study or for extra-curricular responsibilities (such as a position in the residence halls).
    • Coursework with a P grade may not be applied toward a major or minor, except for clinical practicum classes in the Nursing major and performance practicum courses in the Theatre major and minor.
    • No courses graded Pass may be used toward the Honors Program or General Education Requirements, except UCOL 1000.
    • For those students who transfer to SPU, no Pass credits will be accepted for major, minor, General Education, or Honors Program requirements, unless the grading system at the transfer institution is such that only P/NC grades were awarded, and the P grade equates to a grade of at least C (2.0).
    • Courses in which a student earns a Pass or No Credit grade do not count in a student’s grade-point average calculation.
    • However, college-level credits (numbered 1000–4999) earned with a pass grade do count toward elective credits in a bachelor’s degree.


With instructor permission, many on-campus SPU undergraduate courses may be audited. Students pay regular tuition to audit a course. Students do not receive credit for an audited course.

For more information regarding auditing a course, including limitations on class participation, refer to the Auditing a Class section of this catalog.