2017-18 Catalog

Pass-Fail Systems for Undergraduates

Student Option System

The pass-fail grading option is intended to encourage sophomore level (and above) undergraduate students to take challenging courses outside the major field.  Courses numbered below 100 are generally not available for optional pass/fail grading system.  However, the College offering a course may establish a petition process to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a student is allowed to take a course numbered below 100 with pass-fail grading.  Courses 400 and above are not available for the optional pass/fail grading system. 

A student may register for no more than one course pass-fail numbered above 100 and below 400 in any one semester.  Students should check the pass/fail restrictions for specific courses. He or she may take a maximum of six courses pass-fail per undergraduate career if the student is on a four-year program, or a maximum of eight courses per undergraduate career with a five-year, two-degree program. If a student changes a course from pass-fail grading to regular grading, that course will still count toward the maximum number of courses taken pass-fail during the student’s undergraduate career.  The optional pass/fail option may not be used for major or minor subject credit toward graduation or for distribution requirements. 

Each college faculty shall decide under what conditions and which courses or categories of courses throughout the university may be taken for pass-fail credit by students registered in that college, except for courses designated specifically for pass-fail grading. Each college shall keep the educational policy committee advised of changes in its rules.

A student designates the course(s) to be taken pass-fail normally at preregistration but not later than the fifteenth day of instruction in a regular semester or the fifth day of instruction in any summer session. Prior to this deadline, the student may transfer from pass-fail to regular grading, or vice-versa, without penalty. The courses designated for pass-fail grading by the student require the written acknowledgment of the academic adviser.  Retroactive changes to/from pass-fail grading are strictly prohibited.

Since the instructor giving the course is not officially notified which students are taking the course pass-fail, a regular letter grade is reported to the Registrar for the pass-fail students. The Registrar then records “P” for reported letter grades from A through D–, and “F” for a reported letter grade of F.

Under this system, the student surrenders his or her equity to letter grades of A through D–, except as specified below. A grade of P applies to the student’s graduation requirements but is not used in the computation of the cumulative average; whereas an F grade is included in the cumulative grade point average.

Acceptance into a program that does not allow pass-fail grading in a course is the only valid reason for converting the grade for a completed course from pass-fail to a letter grade.  If a student changes his or her program such that a course previously taken for pass-fail grading is not allowed for pass-fail grading in the new program, the student must submit a petition to the Committee on the Standing of Students requesting acceptance by the new program, or substitution of the original letter grade submitted, or the substitution of another course.  The recommendation of the advisor must accompany the petition.