Updated on April 2 with information regarding the pass/fail policy for Summer 2020 courses.
Q: What courses does this revised pass/fail policy apply to?
This policy applies only to undergraduate courses offered in the College of Arts & Sciences. Professional schools will develop separate policies for their undergraduate courses.
Q: What is the status of the pass/fail option?
As of March 23, 2020, UNC-Chapel Hill expanded the pass/fail option to all undergraduate courses in the College of Arts & Sciences for the Spring 2020 semester.
As of April 2, 2020, the College suspended the regular “no pass/fail” Summer School grading policy and extended the pass/fail option through the Summer 2020 terms (including Maymester, Summer Session I, and Summer Session II courses).
Q: How do I declare a course pass/fail?
For the Spring 2020 semester, students who elect to place a course on or remove a course from pass/fail will do so through the Office of the University Registrar using this link. Students wishing to elect this option need to do so by Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. Courses will receive letter grades unless the student opts for pass/fail.
For the Summer 2020 semester (Maymester, Summer Session I, and Summer Session II), students need to elect this option by Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, by using this link. Courses will receive letter grades unless the student opts for pass/fail.
Q: Is there a limit on how many courses you can declare for pass/fail for spring and summer 2020?
A: No, there is no limit on how many courses you can declare pass/fail. Courses declared pass/fail in spring and summer 2020 will not contribute to the 23 total credit hours of pass/fail credit allowed in a student’s undergraduate career.
Q: What is the deadline for declaring a course pass/fail?
For Spring 2020 courses, you must submit this form no later than Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.
For Summer 2020 courses, you must submit this form no later than Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.
Q: If I declare a course pass/fail, how is my grade determined?
The instructor of your class will assign a letter grade at the end of the semester. Letter grades of A-D will convert to a Pass. F grades will remain a fail.
Q: Can a pass/fail course count towards my major or minor?
Students may use Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 pass/fail courses to fulfill major/minor requirements. Pass/Fail courses from other semesters still cannot be used to fulfill major/minor requirements.
Q: Can a pass/fail course meet General Education requirements?
Students may use Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 pass/fail courses to fulfill any graduation requirement, including all Gen Ed requirements.
Q: If I declare a course pass/fail, can it be used in a future semester as a course prerequisite that requires a minimum grade?
Yes. A PS grade earned in a Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 course may be used to fulfill a prerequisite minimum grade requirement in a future semester. A grade of F may not be used. See additional note below. For example, BIOL 201 requires students to earn a minimum grade of C or better in BIOL 101. A PS grade earned in BIOL 101 during Spring 2020 may be used to fulfill the “C or better” grade requirement for enrolling in BIOL 201.
For computer science courses and several other science courses, if you earn a C- or lower grade, you are strongly encouraged to repeat the course, with no penalty, because empirical evidence shows that students do not pass upper-level courses when they are unable to earn a letter grade of C in the lower-level course. If you decide to repeat the course, the credit hours from both the spring 2020 term and the repeated term may be applied towards the 120 credit hours (but not towards fulfilling additional major/minor/Gen Ed requirements).
Q: Does a pass/fail course affect my GPA?
This depends on what grade you earn. A grade of Pass will not be factored into your GPA, but a grade of F will.
Q: Are my faculty aware that my course has been put on pass/fail?
Consistent with the current criteria for students who opt for pass/fail grading, faculty members will not be aware of students who elect the pass/fail grading option when entering final grades.
Q: Will pass/fail courses count toward my earned semester hours for eligibility purposes?
Q: What if I already declared a course pass/fail in Spring 2020?
If you previously elected to take a course pass/fail, it will stay pass/fail. If you want, you have the option of switching back to a letter grade using this form.
Q: How will a pass/fail course appear on my transcript?
Your transcript will show either a PS or an F based on the letter grade that was assigned by your instructor. (Letter grades A – D will convert to a PS on your transcript.) In addition, UNC will include a transcript note on all academic records for spring and summer 2020, regardless of grading, indicating the extraordinary circumstances of the global public health emergency.
Q: If I have additional questions about declaring a course pass/fail, where should I go?
We encourage you to speak with an academic advisor about your choice and about any impact your choices might have for success in future courses or admissions to future programs. Academic advisers are available to communicate with students remotely.