Pass/Fail Grading

Frequently Asked Questions

How many courses may be taken as Pass/Fail?

Undergraduate students may take up to two courses Pass/Fail per semester, not to exceed a total of four courses over the course of their time as an undergraduate student. Of the four allowable Pass/Fail courses, not more than one may be in each major or minor and only one may be a PEQ. The major capstone is excluded from Pass/Fail. Any course that is offered only as Pass/Fail does not count toward the total of four. A student may not use the Pass/Fail option to repeat a course for which a grade was previously earned. The official undergraduate Pass/Fail policy can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Graduate students should note that the Pass/Fail option is only available at the graduate level in rare cases, as most programs and career outcomes require evidence of specific grades. Graduate students seeking an exception to request a pass/fail grade will need to petition and receive approval from their instructor, program director, and dean.

What should I do if I want to pursue a Pass/Fail option in one of my courses?
  • Undergraduate student: Discuss this option with your instructor and advisor first. If you decide to pursue the Pass/Fail option, submit the request using the Pass/Fail form. (This is an e-doc form. You need to log in with your Naz username and password to access and submit it.)
  • Graduate student: The pass/fail option is only available at the graduate level in rare cases, as most programs and career outcomes require evidence of specific grades. Graduate students seeking an exception will need to petition and receive approval from their instructor, program director, and dean.
  • If your request is related to a disability accommodation (undergraduate or graduate) contact Student Accessibility Services,

What is considered "passing" in the Pass/Fail option?

Students should consult their instructors to determine what is necessary to earn a passing (S) grade in the pass/fail format for a specific course but in general, the Pass/Fail option corresponds to one of two grades:

  • S (Satisfactory = Pass) correlates to a grade of D- and above
  • U (Unsatisfactory = Fail) correlates to a grade of F

What is the timeline for pursuing the Pass/Fail option in a course?

The deadline for submitting the Pass/Fail request is the same as the deadline to withdraw from a course. Please refer to the academic calendar for specific dates by semester.

How does a change to Pass/Fail impact my credits and GPA?

Any course that has the Pass/Fail grading designation would have no impact on GPA, regardless if an S or a U are assigned, although you would earn credit for courses in which you earn an S grade. Pass/Fail courses are considered "attempted credits" and therefore count towards full-time status for enrollment and financial aid purposes.

What if a course I am taking has a grade prerequisite for the next course in a sequence? Will taking it Pass/Fail allow me to continue in the sequence?

Courses with Pass/Fail grading generally will not satisfy a requirement for a specific grade necessary to enroll in a subsequent class. There may be exceptions in particular areas and additional clarity can be provided by the major advisor, in consultation with the department chairperson, when necessary.

In most cases, to be eligible to take the next course in the sequence, the student would need to repeat the prerequisite course that was graded Pass/Fail (and lab if applicable) and achieve the necessary prerequisite grade.

My academic program requires a minimum grade in certain courses. Would a Pass/Fail grade work for those courses?

For programs that require a minimum grade in specific courses to stay in or to progress in the program, or a minimum average grade in certain courses:

  • Pass/Fail graded courses do not meet minimum grade requirements, nor do they satisfy overall minimum average grade requirements. Courses graded Pass/Fail would have to be repeated for students in those programs. Examples:
    • P/F grades will not satisfy minimum grade requirements in science courses required by students in the Physical Therapy program, and thus would have to be repeated if taken Pass/Fail.
    • Similarly, Education courses require C or higher grades and therefore should not be taken Pass/Fail. Education students should consult their Education advisor to confirm the following general guidelines:
      • Foreign language courses may be taken Pass/Fail by Education majors.
      • Early Childhood/Childhood Education majors may take math and science courses Pass/Fail but should be aware of any minimum grade requirements for higher level math and science courses, which would not be fulfilled through Pass/Fail grading.
      • Adolescence Education majors must earn a C or better in 6 credits of math, science, English and social studies and therefore these courses should not be taken Pass/Fail.
    • Other similar situations exist. Talk to your advisor for help ensuring you stay on track in your program.

If I want to pursue Pass/Fail in a course with a co-requisite, like a lecture and lab, do I have to take the Pass/Fail in both or can I have one P/F and keep a standard letter grade in the other?
  • Students can request a change to Pass/Fail in one course (e.g., lab) and keep a standard letter grade in the other (e.g., lecture).
  • However, if there are minimum grade requirements for moving onto other courses that require a specific grade in the lecture or lab taken Pass/Fail, generally the course taken Pass/Fail would not satisfy these requirements and will need to be repeated to take the subsequent course with the grade prerequisite. (see above under "What if a course I am taking has a grade prerequisite...")

Will an S grade transfer to another institution?

Because every college and university has its own transfer policies, Nazareth cannot guarantee that an S grade will be accepted in transfer at another institution. If you are considering transferring to another college or university, it is important to contact that institution about their transfer credit policies.

Need help?

If you have technical difficulties using the P/F eForm, please contact the Technology & Media Service Desk at 585-389-2111 or