COVID-19 College Response

Penn's Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

The College is here to support you through these extraordinary times. We know that as a community we can do this if we continue to be informed, responsive and engaged with each other.

We urge you to keep an eye on the academic calendar and this page for updates to important academic information.

Advance Registration course requests begins at 7:00 AM EDT on April 14th and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on April 24th

Prior to entering your course requests on Penn InTouch, explore potential courses, build mock schedules and contact your pre-major or major advisor to discuss your plans and to have registration holds removed.

Summer registration opens at 7:00 AM EDT on April 14th.

First-Years: Your pre-major advisor will reach out to you with instructions for making an advising appointment remotely. To be prepared for your meeting, you should search for courses and make mock schedules before your meeting. Once you and your advisor have had a discussion, you’ll be removed from registration hold and be able to request courses in Penn InTouch. 

Second-Years:  Second-years must declare a major to be taken off hold and advance register.  

  1. Meet with your pre-major advisor to discuss your short and long-term academic plans, including your intended major.
  2. Your pre-major advisor will update your academic planning worksheet in Penn InTouch and make your worksheet official.
  3. You should then contact the department or program to declare the major. The department or programs will inform you about their declaration process.
  4. Once you are a declared major, the major will remove your Advising Hold and you will be able to request courses in Penn InTouch

Juniors and Seniors

Juniors and seniors will work with their major advisors to determine their schedules. Some departments place their majors on hold and will be in communication with them to discuss how to have the hold removed. If you have questions about your General Requirements, or general advising questions, email your College Contact.

What do I need to know about the special pass/fail policy for spring 2020? 

  • Any course may be changed to pass/fail, including courses fulfilling Major, Minor and General Education Requirements 
  • You may take as many of your spring 2020 courses pass/fail as you choose.  
  • The deadline for making this decision is 11:59pm EST on Monday, April 13.  
  • To change your grade type you must go into Penn InTouch and take the action. To do so, choose "Registration & Planning" from the left-hand menu in Penn InTouch, choose "Register for Courses" and click the "Change" button for the course you want to make pass/fail. As of 3.24.20, there may be some courses from other schools at Penn (Wharton, SEAS, Nursing and graduate schools) that cannot be changed through Penn InTouch. Please contact those schools or departments directly with questions about changing your grade type for those courses.
  • Any course taken pass/fail during spring 2020 will not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail (for the College, that limit is 8). 
  • Study Abroad: The expanded pass/fail options also apply to undergraduate students on Penn-sponsored study abroad programs during spring 2020. The last day to change an abroad course to pass/fail is Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EST  (The exception being course taken as part of four abroad programs – LSE, Yonsei, Keio, and Hitotsubashi.) Email your College study abroad advisor to request an abroad course pass/fail by that date. 

Will I be able to use a pass/fail course from spring 2020 to fulfill a Major, Minor or College General Education Requirement? 
Yes, for this semester only, a course taken pass/fail can be used to fulfill any requirement.  

If the course is used in a major or minor, can the grade be uncovered at graduation, as pass/fail courses taken in other semesters are?
No, pass/fail courses from spring 2020 that are used in majors and minors will remain pass/fail—there is no option to uncover the grade. Please note that courses used in the major or minor from other semesters must still be uncovered in order to count toward Major Requirements.

If I change my mind later can I switch the grade type of the course back?
You may change the grade type of any course up to the new pass/fail deadline (11:59pm EST on Monday, April 13). After that date, no further changes can be made to the course’s grade type.

What is a P equivalent to?
A P is equivalent to any grade from an A+ to a D.

Will the P and F grades work the same as in other semesters?
Any passing grade, from an A+ to a D, will be converted to a P, which will confer a credit toward graduation but be g.p.a. neutral. If a student fails a pass/fail course, the F will count toward the g.p.a. as with any other course.

Is there any risk to taking a course pass/fail this semester?
Students should remember that they will still need to learn the content of a given course if they intend to pursue further studies in that field, especially if the course is a prerequisite for one they intend to take later, or if the course is part of a larger sequence.

I am submatriculating into a graduate program at Penn. Can courses taken pass/fail now count for requirements within the graduate program?
Any spring 2020 course that counts for credit on the undergraduate transcript, including courses also counting toward a graduate degree, can be used to fulfill requirements in the College even if taken pass/fail. However, submatriculants should be aware that graduate programs may have different policies. It is strongly recommended that students check with their graduate program before committing to changing a particular course’s grade type to pass/fail. 

How will courses taken pass/fail this semester at Penn be looked at in the future by graduate and professional schools evaluating my application? Is it better to take these courses for a grade now?
The interpretation of pass/fail grades by other institutions as part of their application evaluation processes will vary. Students are strongly advised to consult the website of the Career Services office and to connect with one of their staff to discuss their particular situation.

Some courses at the University cannot normally be taken pass/fail. Can I change one of these courses to pass/fail grading this semester?
All undergraduate courses at Penn may be taken pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester. The ability to take a graduate course pass/fail will depend on the department or Penn school to which the course belongs. In this case, students are advised to inquire with the course instructor. 

I am taking a two-semester course in which the final grade for the fall semester is not posted until the end of the spring (such courses typically post an “S” or a “U” as a temporary fall grade). If I change the grade type of this course in the spring to pass/fail, will the fall grade still be visible on the transcript?
Yes, the letter grade earned for the year will still replace the “S” or “U” in the fall semester. The spring semester will show as P or F. It is possible that individual departments may still consider the grade covered by the P when determining eligibility for departmental honors. 

You have a pre-major advisor and a College Contact who can help you with questions. Both are listed on the  left-side of your Penn InTouch homepage. Your College Contact is an advisor in the College Office who can answer questions your pre-major advisor cannot, provide a second opinion and provide general advising questions even if you’re a junior or senior.

If you have a declared major, your major advisor is also listed on Penn InTouch.

Your advisor is available by email. Advisors are willing to speak by phone or make arrangements to connect through Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom or other online platforms for appointments. You can make an appointment by emailing your advisor directly.

Use the Course Absence Report (CAR) system to communicate with your professor about missing class and alert your College Contact if you believe health concerns will significantly impact your academics this semester. You can find your College Contact’s name and email below your photo in Penn InTouch. Make sure to follow-up with your instructor with next steps by email after submitting the CAR.

Consult your course syllabi for any course-specific changes to attendance policies as a result of moving to remote learning.

For students missing more than five days of class, please email CaseNet at col-casenet@groups.sas.upenn.edu for advising and support.

Students interested in taking a leave of absence should email CaseNet at col-casenet@groups.sas.upenn.edu. An advisor will be in touch to provide guidance and explain the process.

We strongly advise that you speak to your course instructor or TA before taking this step to be certain that withdrawal is the appropriate action at this time. You may also want to reach out to your pre-major advisor or your College Contact to discuss your decision.

Once you are certain you want to withdraw, copy and paste THIS FORM into an email. Complete the questionnaire, put "Withdraw from a Course" in the subject line and send the email to college@sas.upenn.edu. Please submit one email per course.

The 24/7 Student IT Support desk provides support for all students with a focus on Zoom, BlueJeans, and Canvas.  You can find that information here. This page, also has a link specific to SAS student remote IT support.

If you are having difficulty learning within the new format, please remain patient and express your concerns to your instructor. If you are unable to resolve the issue after a week of communicating your concerns, you may reach out to your academic advisor for advice.

Student support services continue to be available for virtual appointments and consultations. Visit Weingarten Learning Center for the latest on the Weingarten Center, the Tutoring Center and Student Disability Services. Appointments are also available with the Writing Center.

Students may withdraw from any course up until April 13th. If you feel there are fundamental concerns with the course structure, format, or delivery even after the initial period of transition, please reach out to the undergraduate chair or program director of the department that hosts the course.

You can use Zoom to meet with other students for group work and other course collaborations. Create a free commercial Zoom account.

Microsoft Teams

Among other options, all students have access to Microsoft Teams.  Creating a Team, whether ‘private’ with invited members or ‘public’ for anyone at Penn, provides a centralized place to chat with text messaging, meet using video with your computer camera, use screen sharing, as well as create and edit shared files. For more on what Teams can do, try out the interactive Teams online demo.  Even without a team, you can create an instant or scheduled online video meeting in the Calendars tab of Teams, inviting fellow students and even people outside of Penn using their emails. Invitees receive a link to the online meeting, and a phone number with conference ID to join via phone as an alternative. Participants can join an online meeting without downloading Teams by clicking the teams meeting link in a google chrome browser and selecting 'Join on the Web Instead.'  More detailed instructions can be found here at SAS Computing.

Bluejeans

Another resource for Spring 2020 is BlueJeans platform where you login using your PennKey information. Bluejeans includes video and text chat, screen sharing, and the ability to send a link to anyone at Penn or outside of the university.  More detailed instructions can be found here at SAS Computing.

Yes, we anticipate all courses will need to adapt to losing one week of instruction as well as making changes to account for the radical shift in format.

Each instructor is working out the best method of delivering instruction, you should receive an email and CANVAS announcement letting you know how to expect to access course materials and assignments.

Independent study

Each research project will need to be discussed with your primary independent study advisor.  In some cases, these projects may continue using virtual resources but in others there may need to be significant changes to the data collection and analysis process, depending on your ability to access certain tools or spaces during this period of restricted travel.

Labs, studios, ABCS courses, etc. where student presence or hands-on participation is required

Instructors are aware of the limitations of remote instruction and have been working hard to determine which assignments are still completable and how course experiences might be adapted to the new reality of our remote environment.  We ask that you are patient with instructors.  They will try out new formats and methods in the coming weeks but may need to change and adapt over the course of several weeks in the new environment.  The College encourages you to reach out to your instructors if you are struggling with the new format to let them know what your barriers to accessing the materials or class activities might be over time.

The final exam period is expected to remain the same, but we have asked instructors to consider significantly altering their final assessments given the loss of a week and the new format. Instructors have been asked to update their syllabi and to clarify how the grading, remaining assignments and exams will be changing. Please see your Canvas site or email your instructor.