What do I need to know about changes to the pass/fail deadline and policies 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 (https://www.college.upenn.edu/study-abroad-advisors) to request an abroad course pass/fail by that date.
Will my advisee 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 my advisee changes their mind later can they 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.
What should an advisee know about taking a course P/F for graduate school (including medical and law school) this semester?
Career Services has been staying apprised of the how p/f and academic performance during the spring 2020 semester will impact graduate school applications. Please refer to their home page (https://careerservices.upenn.edu/) which has advice and updates on this question.
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.