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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

P/N regulations

General policies:

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.
  • P/N Option may not be used to satisfy WCAS Distribution Requirements.
  • P/N Option may not be used for foreign language classes taken toward meeting the WCAS foreign language requirement.
  • P/N Option may not be used for required major, minor, or related classes.
  • P/N Option may not be used for freshmen 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.