Grading System

At Penn State, course grades are computed by weighing a certain percentage for lesson submissions and a percentage for examinations. The introduction to your course study guide or course website explains the grading for your World Campus course. (Individual instructors' grading scales may vary slightly.)  

The grades A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and F represent a scale from "excellent" to "failing" and are assigned the following grade-point equivalents:

A     =    4.00 
A-    =    3.67 
B+   =    3.33 
B     =    3.00 
B-    =    2.67 
C+   =    2.33 
C     =    2.00 
D     =    1.00 
F     =    0.00

Tip: World Campus students who have a Penn State Access Account can obtain their course grades in LionPATH

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading Option (Pass/Fail)

If you do not want to receive a letter grade for a credit course, you may choose the satisfactory/unsatisfactory (SA/UN) grading system, which is subject to the regulations of the University and your degree programs (policy 49-60).

  • Before doing this, you should consult with your adviser; some colleges have restrictions on this grading option.
  • Satisfactory/unsatisfactory courses are not used in computing grade-point average.
  • Courses taken through the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option are considered part of your credit load when qualifying for financial aid.
  • General Education courses may not be taken under this option.
  • You cannot enroll in more than 2 satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade option courses per semester.
  • Baccalaureate degree candidates are allowed a total of 12 SA/UN credits per college career.
  • Associate degree candidates are allowed a total of 6 SA/UN credits per college career.

Process for Choosing Pass/Fail Option

  1. Your request must be processed between the 11th and 21st calendar days of the semester or during the same percentage of time during the summer sessions.
  2. Complete a Registration Drop/Add Form and indicate SA/UN beside the course you wish to take as satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
  3. Submit the completed form to the World Campus office via email at [email protected] or by fax at 814-865-3290. 

Auditing a Course

If you’d like to sit in on a course but do not want to take a course for credit (for example, if you wanted to familiarize yourself with the course’s subject matter), you can audit a course. Keep in mind that you’ll still pay the regular tuition rate when you audit a course. Read more about auditing courses.

Grade Reporting

Your course instructor will assign a final grade when you have completed all of your required lessons and examinations. Your grade is then forwarded to the Office of the University Registrar and entered on your permanent academic record (transcript).

If you have a Penn State Access Account, you can obtain your grades in LionPATH.  

Deferring Grades

If, for reasons beyond your control, you are prevented from completing a course within the prescribed time frame, you have the option of requesting a deferred grade from your instructor. Read more about grade deferment.

Academic Honors

Students whose academic achievements qualify may receive academic honors:

  • Dean's List: Undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List recognition per 12 credits earned. Learn more about Dean's List eligibility.
  • Pi Delta Chi: Qualified undergraduate students will be invited to join Pi Delta Chi, the Penn State Chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which celebrates the scholarship and leadership of full- and part-time undergraduate adult learners.