Grades and points

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 their final grade. The quality of a student’s performance in a course is recognized by a letter mark or 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 with a given grade according to the scale below. For example, a student receiving a grade of A (worth 4.0 points) in a 5-credit course would earn 20 grade points. These points express the quality of a student’s performance in terms of numbers for the purpose of determining scholastic achievement and individual and graduation honors.

Grade point average

A student’s 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 the student was enrolled and for which he or she received a regular grade during the same period.

For example, if a student earns 45 grade points during a quarter in which he or she is enrolled for 15 credits, his or her GPA for the quarter will be 3.0.

Grade Points Explanation
A 4.0 Excellent attainment
A- 3.7  
B+ 3.3  


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 Insufficient attainment with no credit allowed
Au   Audit
P   Pass (used only with the pass/no credit option)
NC   No credit (used only with the pass/no credit option)
I   Incomplete
N   In progress
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 by utilizing the Agreement for Incomplete Grade form (PDF). 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 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 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 six of the quarter will result in a “W” appearing on the transcript.


With instructor permission, most regular, on-campus SPU undergraduate courses may be audited. Students pay regular tuition to audit a course.

Students may change from audit to credit or vice versa during the quarterly registration period as published in the University Calendar.

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

Pass/No Credit option

  • Some courses allow the option of a grade of P/NC rather than a regular letter grade.
  • The P grade in this option must be at least equivalent to a C grade (2.0).
  • If a course carries the P/NC option, students may choose that option through the registration module in the Banner Information System through 4:30 p.m. on the fifth day of the quarter.  Between days six and 10 of the quarter, students may change to the P/NC grade option by completing a P/NC form in Student Academic Services.
  • 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
    • No more than one course per quarter; no courses in major or minor; no courses in University Seminar, University Foundations, University Core, University Scholars, Exploratory Curriculum, or General Education.
    • 6000-level courses may not be taken for P/NC credit, with the exception of thesis, dissertation, research, and projects, to be determined at the discretion of the schools.
    • For those students who transfer to SPU, no “Pass” credits will be accepted for major or minor requirements, for Common Curriculum, for Exploratory Curriculum, for General Education, nor toward the University Scholars Curriculum.
    • 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.

      Equivalent courses

      Courses noted as being "equivalent" may be substituted for each other. A student may not receive duplicate credit for two courses considered equivalent to each other. If a student takes an SPU course equivalent to a course previously completed at SPU, the rules outlined below in the section regarding “Repeating Courses” will be employed.

      If a student takes an SPU course equivalent to a course previously transferred from another school, credit for the transfer course will be rescinded and the SPU credits and course grade will apply. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received.

      Repeating courses

      Students may repeat any course previously taken at SPU (or enroll in an SPU course noted as being “equivalent”) once for the purpose of earning a higher grade, unless the course is designed to be repeated for additional credit.

      Effective Autumn 2011, the highest grade earned at SPU in a repeated course (or an equivalent SPU course) will apply to both the GPA for graduation and for honors at graduation. The original and repeated course will still appear on the transcript. See Academic Probation for the policy related to repeated courses for students on academic probation.

      Only courses taken at SPU will be used to change course grades. A course may be repeated only once. Students who believe they have unusual circumstances may petition to repeat a course more than once by submitting a registration petition (PDF), accompanied by a statement from the course instructor, to Student Academic Services. Courses taken at another institution cannot replace an equivalent SPU course for which credit has been received.