REG 02.20.15 – Credit-Only Courses

Authority: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for Academic Affairs

History: First Issued: 1969. Last Revised: Fall 1995.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG02.20.03 – Attendance Regulations
NCSU REG02.30.01 – Academic Honors

Additional References:
Registration and Records Website

Contact Info: Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs (919-515-3037)


Each undergraduate degree student will have the option to count towards graduation requirements a maximum of 12 semester hours in the category of credit-only courses (exclusive of Physical Education and other courses authorized to be graded on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory basis). The student may select as credit-only any course offered by the University except the several courses in Military Science and Aerospace Studies. The selected courses can be included only under the free elective category of the specific curriculum in which the student is enrolled. Thus, students in curricula without free electives may not take credit-only courses to satisfy graduation requirements except for Physical Education and other courses authorized to be graded S/U. The student will be responsible for attendance, assignments, and examinations.


The student’s performance in a credit-only course will be reported as S (satisfactory grade for credit-only course and given when course work is equivalent to C- or better) or U (no credit grade for credit-only course). The grade for a credit-only course will have no effect on the student’s grade point average. Credit hours for the credit-only course will be counted in the cumulative hours attempted.

Credit-only courses do not count in the calculation of eligibility for the Semester Dean’s List. (See Academic Honors)

All courses on a graduate student’s Plan of Work must be taken for letter grade except those courses authorized to be graded S/U.

Students should be aware that many graduate and professional schools evaluate credit-only courses for which U grades were awarded as failing grades.


3.1. Registration procedures for students wishing to receive credit-only grading are outlined in the online registration guide available from the Registration and Records website. The deadline for changing to credit-only status appear in the NC State Academic Calendar. Exceptions to the stated deadlines may be approved by the dean of the student’s college only on the grounds established for exceptions to the course drop deadline.

3.2. Lifelong Education Students may take on a credit-only basis any course for which they satisfy prerequisites. Lifelong Education students follow the same procedure as undergraduate degree students.

3.3. At the end of each semester or summer session the Department of Registration and Records will indicate to each instructor on the Grade Report Roll that students who are taking the course for credit-only. The instructor will mark an S (satisfactory grade for a credit-only course which is given when course work is equivalent to C- or better) or a U (no credit grade for a credit-only course).