“Opt In” Pass/Fail Grading FAQ
Posted on 23 March 2020
On March 20th, 2020, the Provost, Vice Provost of Education and Dean’s from the four undergraduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania announced new grading options for the remainder of the Spring semester. This FAQ addresses some questions that may arise. The impact on academic standing (performance) and other subjects are still under discussion as of today. Rules will be applied consistently across the four undergraduate schools. This FAQ is subject to change.
What do I need to consider when deciding whether to opt-in to pass/fail (P/F) grading?
If you change a letter-grade course(s) to a pass/fail-grade course, you should consider if this will impact your financial aid package (scholarship), applications to graduate school including medical school, eligibility and competitiveness for awards and ability to transfer internally (within Penn) or externally, or add a dual degree. These are only some examples. Each student case is unique and therefore students are responsible for deciding whether to utilize the opt-in option. The deadline for changing grades is 11:59 EDT PM April 13th, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered as agreed upon by Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS.
How will opt-in pass/fail impact my academic requirements?
For Spring 2020 only, you can take any class P/F that you are enrolled in as of March 20th 2020 when the opt-in pass/fail policy was announced. Thus, you may use any course taken P/F in Spring 2020 to satisfy the academic requirements for BSE degrees, BAS degrees, minors, dual majors, dual degrees, and second majors. However you must satisfy all course requirements on your course planning guide. (Provost rules applied to Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS)
How will opt-in pass/fail impact my academic standing?
Academic performance rules for the current academic year have not been finalized. This includes academic honors (Dean’s List and Latin Honors) and academic progress (warning, probation, drop).
I’ve decided to opt-in for pass/fail grading. How do I change my grade type?
The process itself has not changed (You can change the Pass/Fail status of a course by going to Penn InTouch.) However, for Spring 2020 only, your choices are not limited to Social Sciences and Humanities and Free Elective courses. You are also allowed to select more than one course as P/F only for Spring 2020. Instructors do not know who has selected P/F. Thus, instructors will evaluate all students using the same criteria and then assign a letter grade for each student. If you earn a grade of D or better, you will receive a “P” on your transcript. The opt-in deadline is 11:59 PM EDT April 13th, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered as agreed upon by Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS.
How does opt-in pass/fail grading impact my submatriculation (accelerated Masters) plan?
The opt-in pass/fail option is available to all undergraduate students across SAS, SEAS, Wharton, and Nursing). All SEAS Master’s programs will have a P/F option for Spring 2020. However, if you are submatriculating into a master’s program offered by another school, you will need to consult that school for the policy adopted by that specific program.
Can I change my grade type after April 13th 2020 ?
No. The opt-in pass/fail deadline is 11:59 EDT PM April 13th, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered as agreed upon by Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS.
After receiving my final letter grade, can I change to Pass/Fail ?
No. If you have already received a grade (Letter grade, I, or GR) you may not change the grade type. The policy does not pertain to courses that have already ended or for which a grade has already been issued. The opt-in pass/fail deadline is 11:59 EDT PM April 13th, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered as agreed upon by Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS.
After receiving my Pass/Fail grade, can I change to a letter grade ?
No. Once you receive a grade, you may not change the grade type. This has always been the rule. The opt-in deadline is 11:59 EDT PM April 13th, 2020. Late requests will NOT be considered as agreed upon by Wharton, SAS, Nursing and SEAS.
- Can I take some but not all classes pass/fail?
- Can I take a pass/fail-only class for a grade?
- Can I withdraw from a class and not have it show up on a transcript?
- Although the withdraw deadline was extended to April 13th 2020, the rules remain the same and a “W” will appear on your transcript.
- Will current minimum performance guidelines still be used?
- See Academic standing.
- Once students choose a pass/fail option for a course, will they be prohibited from switching back to a letter grade?
- You can change your grade type option as many times as you like. However, you MUST complete your changes before 11:59pm EDT April 13, 2020.
- Will students be allowed to uncover their grades after choosing pass/fail?
- Will current policy hold that, if students choose pass/fail and pass a course, they cannot repeat the course later to earn a letter grade?
- You cannot repeat a course that you have passed.
- How will the new pass/fail rules affect international students and their visa status? What will be the minimum/courseload number of credits they have to take for a letter grade?
- According to ISSS, visa status is dependent on the number of course units taken in the semester and not the grade type choice.
- Can I “opt in” if I am currently studying abroad?
- Yes. However, if you are in LSE, Yonsei, Keio, and Hitotsubashi please contact the academic advising office.
- Will the 4 CU cap on P/F courses be enforced?
- No. The number of P/F courses you take in Spring 2020 will not count toward the total.
- Who do I contact if I’m having technical problems?
- Penn provides student remote IT support https://www.isc.upenn.edu/studentremote-it-support
- SEAS information and support is also listed on this site