Take a Course Pass/Not Pass (P/N)
This page provides information on deadlines, regulations and policies for taking a course pass/not pass (P/N).
Deadlines for changing your grading options
- Students should register for the P/N option when they initially register for the course in CAESAR. Students may change their grading option using CAESAR's Update function or by submitting a P/N form.
- Undergraduate students and students in The Graduate School may change registration from ABC grade to P/N and vice versa through Friday of the eighth week of classes. See the Academic Calendar for exact dates each quarter.
- The P/N option may only be used for general education classes and/or unrestricted electives.
- The P/N option may not be used for first or second-year language classes in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Latin or Italian.
- All pre-requisites must be met before a class may be taken P/N.
- Not all classes may be taken P/N. If the class detail section on CAESAR says "Student Option" (abbreviated OPT), P/N is available.
- Occasionally, a "No P/N" note may also be added to classes.
Additional school specific policies
School of Education and Social Policy
No more than six classes with grades of P or D (or a combination of P and D) may be taken at Northwestern and offered for graduation.
The P/N option (and classes in which a student earns a D) may not be used for Core, Concentration or Distribution Requirements.
Medill School of Journalism
The P/N option may not be used for journalism or IMC classes.
Only one class may be taken P/N per quarter (excluding TN quarter).
No more than six classes with P grades may be counted toward the 45 units required for a degree.
- The P/N option may not be used for classes taken in fulfillment of Medill’s social science, elective concentration or distribution requirements.
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
No more than six P grades earned may be used for graduation.
- Only one class per quarter may be taken P/N.
Up to two units of Northwestern credit may be applied towards Foundational Discipline requirements with a grade of Pass, but these may not be in the same foundational area. For those students following the older Distribution curriculum, P/N courses will continue to not be allowed to count towards Distribution requirements.
P/N Option may not be used for classes taken toward meeting the WCAS proficiency in a language other than English requirement.
P/N Option may not be used for required major, minor, or related classes.
P/N Option may not be used for first-year seminars.
No more than one-fifth of the total Northwestern classes with grades of P or D (or a combination of P and D) may be offered for graduation.
Bienen School of Music
Music students may not take music classes under the P/N option, except for those courses graded solely with P/N grades.
No more than six P/N classes (in non-music subjects) may be counted toward the degree.
The P/N Option is available to non-music students in all music classes including applied music, except as noted in the class schedule and on CAESAR.
School of Communication
No more than six P/N classes may be counted toward graduation.
Courses offered by the major department may not be taken for a P grade, regardless of which requirement they are applied to, and even if they will count as an elective.
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
- McCormick cannot override the grading option for courses taught by other schools at Northwestern.
- McCormick courses are not offered with the P/N grading option.
- No more than eight courses with P grades may be counted toward the degree.
- Courses with P grades can only be used to meet Theme and Unrestricted Elective requirements.
- Only select McCormick degree programs allow P grades in major requirements. Consult your advisor for more information.
- Freshmen and sophomores may elect P/N grading for 1 course each quarter by selecting a course (with student option grading) and making that change in CAESAR. Juniors and seniors may elect P/N grading for more than 1 course each quarter. The first course can be done by selecting a course (with student option grading) and making that change in CAESAR. Electing P/N grading for subsequent courses requires submitting a P/N form.
The Graduate School
- P/N rules vary by department. Check with your department for specifics.