Taking Courses for Pass/Fail Credit

Students may elect to take some courses in which they can receive the grade P (Pass). The grade of P will appear on the record for a student who is awarded the grade D– or higher under the P/F option. A student who fails a course under this option will receive earn the F.


Sophomores, juniors, and seniors not on academic probation may register for a course on a pass/fail basis. A maximum of 18 hours graded P may be counted toward the degree. No more than one course per term may be taken on a P/F basis. The P/F option does not apply to courses in the following categories:

  1. Courses counted toward AXLE requirements;
  2. Courses in the major field(s), courses that may be counted toward the major(s), or courses that are required for the major(s);
  3. For students with a defined interdisciplinary major, courses that are required for the major or that are eligible to count toward the major;
  4. For students with an individually designed interdisciplinary major, courses listed in the student's plan of study;
  5. For students planning an optional minor, courses in the minor field or those eligible to count toward an interdisciplinary minor;
  6. Courses that have been specifically excluded from the P/F option;
  7. Courses taken previously.

Students must be enrolled for at least 12 hours on a regularly graded basis. If a student drops a course and falls below 12 graded hours, the P/F course is converted automatically to a regularly graded basis.

Candidates for teacher licensure should be aware that part of the Teacher Education program is offered only with the grade P or F. These candidates should, therefore, plan their programs so that the total hours of P, including student teaching, will not exceed 18.


All students taking a course on a P/F basis are expected to meet normal course requirements (e.g., reports, papers, examinations, laboratory attendance) and are graded in the normal way. At the end of the semester, students enrolled on a P/F basis are awarded a regular grade. Any grade of D– or above is converted in the Student Records System to a P. A student taking a course on a P/F basis must meet the course prerequisites as set forth in the Catalog.

The grade P is not counted in the grade point average nor used in the determination of honors. The grade of F earned under the P/F option is included in the calculation of grade point average just as it would be when earned on a regularly graded basis.

Exceptions for Graduating Seniors

A graduating senior who has permission to take fewer than 12 hours on a graded basis may take one course on a P/F basis in addition to the courses required for graduation. If the student does not graduate at the end of that semester, the grade P is automatically converted to the grade actually earned.

Registering for a Class on a Pass/Fail Basis

Use a Change of Course Request form to register for a course on a pass/fail basis. You do not need an instructor's signature to take a course on a pass/fail basis.

The form is available here: http://as.vanderbilt.edu/docs/UGRD Change Form (Green Card).pdf

Bring the completed form to the College of Arts and Science Office of Academic Services in Kirkland 311. All requests to take a course pass/fail must be received no later than the published deadline for the semester; please consult the academic calendar for all deadlines.